Beef in cold storage down on year, pork up

Beef supplies are tighter.

The USDA says beef in cold storage at the end of March 2023 was 480.896 million pounds, a 10% drop from the record monthly high reported at the end of March 2022. That’s due to comparatively better demand than other proteins and a lower production pace because of tighter market ready supplies.

Pork supplies were reported at 533.916 million pounds, 10% above a year ago, with slower demand and a slightly faster pace of production.

That decline in beef did pull red meat stocks 1% below last year to 1.042 billion pounds.

Higher production and slower demand were also reflected in poultry, with the total of 1.195 billion pounds up 2% on the year, including a 9% increase in chicken to 854.132 million and a 10% jump for turkey to 338.327 million pounds. That chicken total included an all-time March high for breasts and breast meat, while the turkey total included the tightest March supply of hens on record.

The USDA’s next set of annual meat production projections is out May 12th.

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