Cold Storage report shows belly stocks up 93%

Red meat production is outpacing demand.

According to the USDA’s latest Cold Storage report, total red meat supplies are up 4 percent on the month and 7 percent from last year.

University of Missouri livestock market analyst Scott Brown says the number that catches his eye is the pork belly stocks which are at the highest level since May 2016 at 64.6 million pounds. “That’s just 93 percent higher than where they were a year ago at this time,” he says.  “But, take a little longer perspective and pork belly stocks are still 9.8 percent below the 2012 to 2016 average.”

He tells Brownfield the large increase highlights just how short belly stocks were a year ago.  He says increased production is causing a build-up in stocks. “Which probably spells a little lower highs in terms of where summer prices go with the stock build-up on the red meat side,” he says.

But, Brown says increased stocks could mean good news for consumers at the meat case.  “A year ago at this time retailers would have been reluctant to talk about some of that featuring because of the shortage of supply,” he says.  “They needed to make sure if they were going to run a feature they had an adequate supply of what consumers wanted.”

Beef stocks were up 3 percent at 471.5 million pounds, pork stocks were up 9 percent on the year at 641.4 million pounds, and poultry stocks were up 7 percent at 1.374 billion pounds. 

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