Frozen Red Meat Stocks Decline In April

The USDA’s monthly Cold Storage report may not be much of a market mover, since many expected logistics problems in April, which cut retail supplies, had led to a drawdown in frozen stocks, a market analyst said.

Frozen meat stocks might have been drawn down even more if trucking companies had not had their own problems during the month, the analyst said.

Total red meat supplies in US freezers on April 30 came to 9.771 billion pounds, down 41 million, or 0.42%, from 9.812 billion on March 31 but up 237 million, or 2.49%, from 9.534 billion a year earlier, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics service said Thursday in its monthly Cold Storage report.

Frozen poultry supplies totaled 1.356 billion pounds, up 45 million, or 3.43%, from 1.311 billion a month earlier but down one million, or 0.07%, from 1.357 billion last year.




Total pounds of beef in freezers were 489.999 million pounds, down 12.320 million, or 2.45%, from 502,319 million the previous month but up 59.777 million, or 13.9%, from 430.222 million last year.

Boneless beef supplies totaled 459.157 million pounds, down 7.838 million, or 1.68%, from 466.995 million a month earlier but up 62.607 million, or 15.8%, from 396.550 million a year earlier.

Total supplies of beef cuts on ice were 30.842 million pounds, down 4.482 million, or 12.7%, from 35.324 million a month earlier and down 2.830 million, or 8.40%, from 33.672 million a year earlier.




Frozen pork supplies, at 614.811 million pounds, were down 1.923 million, or 0.31%, from 616.734 million the previous month and down 6.645 million, or 1.07%, from 621.456 million last year.

Stocks of pork bellies were 80.870 million pounds, up 2.713 million, or 3.47%, from 78.157 million last month and up 19.760 million, or 32.3% from 61.110 million last year.

Hams in cold storage totaled 114.433 million pounds, up 26.125 million, or 29.6%, from 88.308 million a month earlier but down 6.898 million, or 5.69%, from 121.331 million a year earlier.

The total volume of pork loins in cold storage April 30 was 41.812 million pounds, down 4.514 million, or 9.74%, from 46.326 million on March 31 and down 1.313 million, or 3.04%, from 43.125 million on April 30, 2019.




Total stocks of chicken were 933.585 million pounds, up 13.484 million, or 1.47%, from 920.101 million the previous month and up 52.530 million, or 5.96%, from last year.

Of that, 22.545 million pounds were whole broilers, fryers and roasters, up 2.399 million, or 11.9%, from 20.146 million the previous month and up 4.508 million, or 25.0%, from 18.037 million the previous year.

Breasts and breast meat on ice totaled 244.948 million pounds, compared with 226.521 million in March and 184.136 million in 2019.

Total pounds of frozen turkey were up 7.62% from last month but down 11.6% from April 30, 2019.




Fed cattle trading was reported this week in the Plains at $117 to $120 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $7 from last week.  Dressed-basis trading was seen at $175 to $190 per cwt, steady to up $5.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $2.23 per cwt at $401.81, while select was off $8.65 at $382.53.  The choice/select spread widened to $19.28 from $12.86 with 146 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $126.60 per cwt, down $0.29.  This compares with Thursday’s May contract settlement of $126.02, up $0.02 and the Aug contract settlement of $128.87, down $0.12.