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Record red meat, pork, beef production in March

The USDA says red meat production during March was an all-time high for the month at 4.995 billion pounds, an increase of 13% from March 2019. That might be the last month with record red meat production for the next couple of months as processing speed slows down because of several major plants being closed following COVID-19 infections.

Beef production was a record high for the month at 2.411 billion pounds, up 14% on the year, with a 10% jump in the slaughter to 2.922 and a 29 pound gain in the average live weight to 1,368 pounds. The dairy cow slaughter during March 2020 was 288,000 head, up 21,900 from February, but down 14,400 from March 2019. The year to date slaughter of 852,600 head, 27,200 less than a year ago.

Pork was also a record high for March at 2.567 billion pounds, 12% more than a year ago, with an 11% increase in the slaughter to 11.942 million head and one pound gain for the average live weight to 288 pounds.

Year to date red meat production is 14.407 billion pounds, 2% ahead of last year’s record pace.

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

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