Pork & Beef market

Red meat production in the U.S. continues to increase, according to a recent analysis from the Livestock Market Information Center.

Commercial pork production in July was nearly 2.4 billion pounds, a 7.3% increase from a year ago. Hog slaughter rose by 6.1% for July, coming in at 11.2 million head.

Both of these numbers set records for July, according to the analysis from LMIC.

Slaughter weights remained about 2 pounds higher than a year ago.

“Sow slaughter continues to climb in 2020 with July at 279,000 head (up 9.8%) and year-to-date slaughter up 11.6%,” the LMIC said. “The June Hogs & Pigs report indicated farrowing intentions were expected to decline 5% for the June-August and September-November quarters. The continued strong pace of sow slaughter would be supportive of the expected decline in sow farrowings for the next two quarters.”

While pork production was up in July, commercial cattle slaughter was down 0.7% in July. This still represents the second largest monthly slaughter number this year, behind March.

Despite the dip in slaughter numbers, beef production in July was the highest in 2020 at over 2.4 billion pounds, a 2.6% increase from a year ago.

“The growth in beef production is attributable to cattle dressed weights,” the LMIC said. “In July, federally inspected dressed weights were 834 pounds, a 3.5% (28 pound) increase from a year ago. The backlog of cattle created by the pandemic has led to higher than normal dressed weights which has bolstered beef production.”

Lamb and mutton production were also up in July, increasing by nearly 1% from a year ago. Commercial lamb and mutton production was 12.1 million pounds for July, the LMIC said.

“The increase in slaughter was offset by a 1.5% decline in federally inspected dressed weights of 65 pounds compared to 66 pounds last year,” the LMIC said. “Although slaughter numbers were higher for the month, lower dressed weights have led to a slowing in lamb and mutton production.”

Jeff DeYoung is livestock editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.