Frozen Red Meat Supplies Decline

Total red meat supplies at the end of November in US freezers were down 112.685 million pounds, or 9.80%, to 1.037 billion from 1.149 billion a month earlier.

Stocks also were down 42.549 million pounds, or 3.94%, from 1.079 billion a year earlier.

The news came Friday in the monthly USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Cold Storage report.

Total red meat on ice usually declines in November as orders for holiday meals of ham and beef rib products increase.  A seasonal high usually occurs at the end of September with a dip by the end of October.  Further decline usually occurs through November.

November’s month-over-month decline typically is followed by a mild rise in stocks by the end of December as holiday ordering declines.

Last year and this year, the November drop in frozen red meat stocks was very pronounced.  However, red meat inventories remained above the 2011-2015 average.

It’s interesting to note that frozen red meat inventories this year have remained below a year earlier despite larger hog and cattle inventories and rising slaughter of both.  Per capita consumption has increased along with exports.




Frozen beef supplies went against the grain in November, declining markedly from October and going against the rising 2011-2015 average.  Still, supplies remained well above the five-year average.

Total supplies of beef in US freezers on Nov. 30 were 486.954 million pounds, down 20.093 million, or 3.96%, from 507.047 million a month earlier.  Total supplies, however, were up 43.999 million, or 8.29%, from 530.953 million a year earlier.

Compared with the 2011-2015 average of 449.548 million pounds, frozen beef stocks were up 37.406 million, or 8.32%.




Frozen pork supplies made a seasonal downturn in November although the decline was steeper than the 2011-2015 average.  The decline, however, did remain on track with a year ago.

Total pork supplies on ice on Nov. 30 amounted to 504.975 million pounds, down 92.399 million, or 15.5%, from October’s 597.374 million and down 13.838 million, or 2.67%, from last year’s 518.813 million.




The report also said total frozen poultry supplies on ice, at 1.190 billion pounds, as of Nov. 30 were down 149.129 million, or 11.1%, from 1.339 billion in October but up 156.122 million, or 15.1%, from 1.033 billion a year earlier.

Total chicken stocks, at 897.443 million pounds, were up 23.235 million, or 2.66%, from the previous month’s 874.208 million and up 106.491 million, or 13.5% from last year’s 790.952 million.

Total turkey stocks, at 289.266 million pounds, were down 171.590 million, or 37.2%, from 460.856 million last month but up 52.404 million, or 22.1%, from 236.862 million on Nov. 30, 2016.




Two lots of fed cattle sold Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange video auction at $120 per cwt, up $4 from the previous week’s thinly tested market.

Cash cattle trade last week took place at $120 per cwt on a live basis in the Plains, steady to up $1 from the bulk of the previous week’s action.  Dressed-basis sales were reported at $190 to $191 per cwt, up $2 to $3.

The USDA’s choice cutout Friday was up $1.44 per cwt at $199.56, while select was up $1.01 at $187.88.  The choice/select spread widened to $11.68 from $11.25 with 63 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Thursday was $149.92 per cwt, down $1.92.  This compares with Friday’s Jan settlement at $141.55 per cwt, down $1.37.