Total red meat supplies in US freezers on April 30 were up slightly from the previous month but down about 5% from last year, said the USDA’s monthly Cold Storage report Wednesday.
Total frozen poultry supplies on April 30, were up about 1% from the previous month and up 9% from a year ago, the Cold Storage report said.
BEEF STOCKS DECLINE
Total pounds of beef in freezers, at 447.984 million pounds, were down 29.822 million pounds, or 6.24%, from 477.806 million the previous month and down 84.184 million, or 15.8%, from 532.168 million last year.
Of that, 402.769 million pounds were classed as “boneless” beef, down 29.809 million, or 6.89%, from 432.578 million a month earlier and down 80.442 million, or 16.6%, from 483.211 million a year earlier.
Another 45.215 million pounds were classed as “beef cuts,” down 13,000, or 0.03%, from 45.228 million a month earlier and down 3.740 million, or 7.64%, from 48.955 million a year earlier.
PORK STOCKS RISE
Frozen pork supplies were up 31.586 million pounds, or 5.92%, at 565.479 million pounds from 533.893 million the previous month and up 32.083 million, or 6.01%, from 533.396 million last year.
Stocks of pork bellies were up 4.191 million pounds, or 5.44%, at 81.177 million pounds from 76.986 million last month and up 22.846 million, or 39.2% from 58.331 million last year.
Hams on ice totaled 117.527 million pounds, up 32.973 million, or 39.0%, from 84.554 million a month earlier and up 19.489 million, or 19.9%, from 98.038 million a year earlier.
Loins in cold storage numbered 43.103 million pounds, down 225,000, or 0.52%, from 43.328 million a month earlier but up 974,000, or 2.31%, from 42.129 million a year earlier.
Frozen pork ribs totaled 105.898 million pounds, down 5.978 million, or 5.34%, from 111.876 million a month earlier and down 12.833 million, or 10.8%, from 118.731 million a year earlier.
CHICKEN STOCKS MIXED
Total stocks of chicken, at 830.290 million pounds, were down 22.857 million, or 2.68%, from 853.147 million the previous month but up 62.189 million, or 8.10%, from 768.101 million last year.
Of that, 12.561 million pounds were whole birds, down 87,000, or 0.69%, from 12.648 million the previous month but up 274,000, or 2.23%, from 12.287 million a year earlier.
Another 224,950 million pounds was breasts and breast meat, down 5.088 million, or 2.18%, from 233.038 million a month earlier but up 50.259 million, or 28.3%, from 177.691 million a year earlier.
Total pounds of turkey in freezers, at 367.952 million pounds, were up 9%, from 338.731 million last month and up 11%, from 332.513 million on April 30, 2022.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $169.74 per cwt to $176.54, compared with last week’s range of $169.94 to $177.58 per cwt. FOB dressed steers, and heifers went for $268.57 per cwt to $278.21, compared with $269.65 to $276.85.
The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was down $2.44 per cwt at $298.30 while select was up $2.51 at $283.79. The choice/select spread narrowed to $14.51 from $19.46 with 117 loads of fabricated product and 17 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.
The USDA said basis bids for corn from feeders in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.73 to $1.85 a bushel over the Jul corn contract, which settled at $5.87 1/4 a bushel, up $0.09 3/4.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $207.36 per cwt, up $0.60. This compares with Wednesday’s May contract settlement of $208.97 per cwt, up $1.17 and Aug’s $234.52, up $1.05.
IN OUR OPINION
–Nothing in the Cold Storage report will do much to live cattle or lean hog futures. Beef supplies are down because slaughter and weights are down. Sources also say beef movement out of retail has been good. Also, the beef stocks are being compared with record totals in 2022, so it’s to be expected that they’re down. Conversely, US and world hog slaughter is up for the year, putting more pork into the system.