November Beef Production Dips Slightly

US commercial beef production in November declined slightly from October, but remained above last year and the previous five-year average, said USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service data.

Total beef production for 2017 through November also was up from a year earlier and the 2011-2015 average.  This competes with increased pork production through the same period.  Chicken production through December also rose from 2016 levels, adding to competition with beef.




November beef production was listed at 2.290 billion pounds, down from October’s 2.301 billion but up 50 million, or 2.23%, from November 2016’s 2.240 billion and up 250 million, or 12.3%, the 2011-2015 average of 2.040 billion.

Beef production through November totaled 24.025 billion pounds, up from 23.048 billion in the year-earlier period and up from the previous five-year average of 23.108 billion.

Since November beef production was above last year, which declined in December, and the 2011-2015 average, which dropped sharply in November and only rose slightly in December, it would seem logical that December 2017 beef production should decline.

That supposition appears very likely as commercial cattle slaughter in December dropped 180,000, or 6.59%, to 2.580 million head from 2.762 million in October.  This was below the 2016 total of 2.612 million and very close to the previous five-year average of 2.550 million.

As a side note, the percent of beef grading choice as a percent of total beef graded continues to climb as select production declines, according to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Data.  As of September, the latest data available, about 76.1% of inspected beef graded choice while 16.9% graded select.  A year earlier, 73.5% graded choice while 20.4% graded select.




November pork production was listed at 2.245 million pounds, only 5,000 pounds above the November 2016 level of 2.240 million but 210,000, or 10.3%, above the previous five-year average of 2.035 million.

Total pork production through November of 2017 also was up, NASS said.  Data show 23.346 million pounds of pork rolled out of the packing plants through the period, up 614,000, or 2.70%, from 22.732 million in the year-earlier period and up 2.119 million, or 9.98%, from 21.227 million for the 2011-2015 average.

Federally inspected barrow and gilt slaughter for December, at 10.126 million head, was identical with November but up 600,000, or 6.30%, from the 2011-2015 average of 9.526 million.

December 2016 pork production also was down from November, so it probably is safe to assume that December pork production also will be down a little.




Cash cattle sold Tuesday at scattered locations in the Plains at $126 per cwt on a live basis, steady to down $1 from the bulk of last week’s transactions, which happened on Friday.

No cattle were sold last Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange video auction.

Cash cattle traded early last week at $123 per cwt on a live basis, about steady with the bulk of the previous week’s action, and then at $126 to $127 on Friday, up $3 to $4.  On a dressed basis, cattle traded at $200, up about $5.

The USDA’s choice cutout Tuesday was up $0.58 per cwt at $209.69, while select was up $0.24 at $204.37.  The choice/select spread widened to $5.32 from $4.98 with 90 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday, was $147.66 per cwt, up $0.16.  This compares with Tuesday’s Mar settlement of $147.17, up $0.17.