Pork Pushes Weekly Red Meat Production

Total weekly US red meat production is up this year, and the award for carrying more than its share of the load goes to pork.  Beef also is contributing but to a lesser extent.

Last week, total meat production was pegged at 1.044 billion pounds, up 1 million, or 0.10%, from 1.045 billion the previous week.  Last week’s production also was up 16 million, or 1.56%, from 1.028 billion pounds in the same week a year ago and up 69 million, or 7.08%, from the 2011-2015 average of 975 million pounds.





Weekly pork production is up from last year, too, but the major gap is between 2017 production and the 2011-2015 average.

Weekly pork production last week amounted to 531.5 million pounds, up 9.5 million, or 1.82%, from 522.0 million the previous week and up 23.4 million, or 4.61%, from 508.1 million the same week a year ago.  But compared with the previous five-year average of 474.38 million pounds, last week’s production was up 57.12 million pounds, or 12.0%.




Weekly beef production has been up over last year in most weeks, but the gains over the 2011-2015 average have been less intense.  Last week’s production even dipped below the same week in 2016.

Last week’s beef production was placed at 508.4 million pounds, down 10.6 million, or 2.04%, from 519.0 million the previous week and down 7.7 million, or 1.49%, from 516.1 million in the same week a year ago.  However, weekly beef production was above the previous five-year average of 495.78 million, a gain of 12.62 million, or 2.46%.

Beef prices may be being supported by strong demand for holiday cuts as the percentage of beef grading choice out of all graded beef declines seasonally.  The percentage of choice product is up from last year and the previous five-year average, but there is evidence to support ideas that beef packers have received extra orders for holiday product this year.

During the third week of October, the percentage of beef grading choice amounted to 71.58%, down 0.5 percentage point from the previous week.  However, the week’s choice percentage was 2.36 percentage points above the same week a year earlier and 9.398 percentage points above the 2011-2015 average.

Veal production for most of the year has kept on pace with last year – about 1.4 million pounds a week.




One pen of Texas fed cattle sold on the Livestock Exchange video auction at $120 per cwt Wednesday.

One sale was reported in eastern Nebraska’s dressed markets Thursday at $192 per cwt.  Live-basis bids went from $120 to $125 per cwt, and trade was noted late in the afternoon at $121 to mostly $124 to $125.

Late last Friday, cash trading took place at $116 to $119 with some at $119.50 per cwt on a live basis and $182 to $186 dressed.

The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was up $0.86 per cwt at $208.25, while select was down 0.55 at $193.16.  The choice/select spread widened to $15.09 from $13.68 with 129 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $158.71 per cwt, up $1.37.  This compares with Thursday’s Nov settlement of $157.92, down $1.77.