Monthly Cold Storage Stocks Decline

As meat production dropped because of shuttered slaughter and processing plants from COVID-19 illnesses, it seems the nation’s cold storage supplies filled much of the gap between meat production and consumption.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Monday released its monthly Cold Storage report, outlining the quantity of various meats stored in commercial freezers around the country.  The report said total red meat supplies in freezers were down 18% from the previous month and down 13% from last year.




The total amount of beef in freezers came to 415.221 million pounds, down 64.235 million, or 13.4%, from 479.456 million the previous month but up 10.070 million, or 2.49%, from 405.151 million last year, NASS said.

Of that total, 387.736 million pounds, or 93.4%, was boneless beef, down 60.875 million, or 13.6%, from 448.614 million a month earlier but up 15.031 million, or 4.03%, from 372,708 million a year earlier.

Another 27.485 million pounds, or 6.62%, of the total was beef cuts, NASS said.  This would be down 3.357 million, or 10.9%, from 30.842 million a month earlier and down 4.958 million, or 15.3%, from 32.443 million a year earlier.




Frozen pork supplies were 466.951 million pounds, down 144.271 million, or 23.6%, from 611.222 million the previous month and down 162.005 million, or 25.8%, from 628.956 million last year, NASS said.

Stocks of pork bellies, at 59.182 million pounds, were down 21.546 million, or 26.7%, from 80.728 million last month and down 4.942 million, or 7.71%, from 64.124 million last year.

The total volume of hams in cold storage was 107.540 million pounds, down 5.788 million, or 5.11%, from 113.328 million a month earlier and down 42.569 million, or 28.4%, from 150.109 million a year earlier.

Frozen loin supplies, at 27.502 million pounds, was down 13.015 million, or 32.1%, from 40.517 million on April 30 and down 18.288 million, or 39.9%, from 45.790 million on May 31, 2019.

The volume of ribs in cold storage was 78.072 million pounds, down 37.971 million, or 32.7%, from 116.043 million a month earlier and down 49.697 million, or 38.9%, from 127.769 million a year earlier.




Total frozen poultry supplies on May 31, at 1.285 billion pounds, were down 72 million, or 5.30%, from 1.357 billion the previous month and down 47 million, or 3.53%, from 1.332 billion a year ago, NASS said.

Total stocks of chicken were 856.915 million pounds, down 76.583 million, or 8.20%, from 933.498 million the previous month but up 22.617 million, or 2.71%, from 834.298 million last year.

Whole fryers on ice came to 23.534 million pounds, up from 22.545 million a month earlier and up from 19.583 million a year earlier.

Total pounds of turkey in freezers were 420.124 million, up 2.134 million, or 0.51%, from 417.981 million last month but down 74.315 million, or 15.0%, from 494.439 million on May 31, 2019.




Cattle were sold in the Plains last week at $98 to $105 per cwt on a live basis, down $4 to $5 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trading was reported at $157 to $167 per cwt down $5.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was up $0.34 per cwt at $214.06, while select was up $0.39 at $204.30.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $9.76 from $9.81 with 114 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

No contracts were tendered for delivery Monday against the Jun live cattle futures contract.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $129.12 per cwt, up $1.11.  This compares with Monday’s Aug contract settlement of $131.75, down $0.80.