Frozen Red Meat Supplies Fall

Total red meat supplies in US freezers on June 30 were down 3% from the previous month and down 7% from last year, which could lend support to cattle and hog futures on Tuesday.

The USDA revealed the storage levels in its monthly Cold Storage report Monday.

Total pounds of beef in cold storage were up 1% from May 31, but they were down 10% from last year.

Frozen pork supplies were down 5% from May and down 4% from last year.  Stocks of pork bellies were down 29% from last month and down 65% from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies were up 4% from the previous month and up 4% from a year ago.  Chicken inventories were up 3% from May but down 1% from last year.  Turkey stocks were up 7% from a month ago and were up 12% from last year.




Frozen beef stocks at the end of June totaled 416.7 million pounds, this was up 5.172 million, or 1.26%, from 411.5 million a month earlier.  However, the new total was down 47.852 million, or 10.3%, from 464.5 million a year earlier.

A month ago, cold storage beef supplies were down 48.8 million pounds, or 10.6%, from a year earlier, so the June move nearly tied the same month’s move last year.

Cold storage beef supplies made a month-over-month upturn in June last year, but the 2011-2015 average doesn’t bottom until August.  On average, the May-to-June decline is 13.0 million pounds, or 2.86%.




Total stocks of pork in cold storage on June 30 was 563.0 million pounds, down 29.4 million, or 4.97%, from 592.4 million a month earlier.  More importantly, inventories were down 23.5 million pounds, or 4.01%, from 586.5 million a year earlier.

Interestingly, total pounds of pork bellies, from which bacon is made, were listed at 22.3 million pounds, down 9.3 million, or 29.4%, from 31.6 million a month ago and down 40.6 million, or 64.6%, from 62.9 million a year ago.

Market sources attributed the decrease in belly stocks to a combination of seasonal consumption rise of bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and a big push by some fast food restaurants for pork belly sandwiches or bacon-topped sandwiches.




Helping the bullishness of the declines in beef and pork inventories from a year ago, chicken inventories were down from last year as well.

Total chicken supplies were 808.8 million pounds, up 23.3 million, or 2.96%, from 785.5 million in May but were down 6.2 million, or 0.77%, from 815.0 million a year ago.




Fed cattle sales on the livestock exchange video auction Wednesday averaged $118.27 per cwt, with trade in the south at $118.25 to $118.50 up $0.25 to $0.50 from last week.  In the North, trade was limited to a few at $118.00, up $0.75 to down $0.75.  Lots with one- to nine-day delivery sold at $118.30, while lots with one- to 17-day delivery sold at $118.00.

Cash cattle trading was reported Thursday at $118.25 to $118.50 per cwt on a live basis, up $1 to down $2.50.  By Friday, prices had moved up to $119 to $120.50, mostly $120, with dressed trade at $189 to $190.

The USDA’s choice cutout Monday was up $0.55 per cwt at $207.46, while select was up $3.09 at $197.89.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $9.57 from $12.11 with 76 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $151.88 per cwt, up $2.85.  This compares with Monday’s Aug settlement at $148.45, down $4.50.