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Beef in cold storage surges

The USDA says the amount of beef in cold storage at the end of April 2020 was up sharply from the same period in 2019. That is despite much lower than a year ago beef production totals because of plant closures and processing slowdowns related to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Beef came out at 489.999 million pounds, up 14% on the year, even with a month to month decline in supplies because of those processing issues.

Pork was reported at 614.811 million pounds, 1% lower than a year ago, at a time when pork stocks tend to increase.

The red meat total of 1.148 billion pounds was 5% above last year.

Chicken stocks at the end of April were a record high for the month. Chicken in cold storage was 933.585 million pounds, an increase of 6% on the year, and includes all-time April highs for supplies of breasts and breast meat and thigh meat.

Turkey was pegged at 417.032 million pounds, 12% below a year ago, leaving the total amount of poultry in cold storage statistically unchanged at 1.357 billion pounds.

The USDA’s next set of supply and demand estimates is out June 12th.

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