Additional packing capacity marked 2017 as a stand out year for hog producers. Large export and domestic demand also kept cattle supplies robustly current. Now, consumers are finally getting to take home the bacon and steaks, respectively.
Pork production hit a record high in December, according to USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Livestock Slaughter report, released Jan. 25.
Pork production in December totaled 2.23 billion pounds, up 1% from December 2016. Hog slaughter totaled 10.5 million head, down slightly from December 2016. The average live weight was up 3 lb. from the previous year, at 286 lb.
In total for the year, pork slaughter was up 3% from 2016, to 121 million head.
Accumulated Beef Production Ends Year 4% Higher
Beef production in December, at 2.15 billion pounds, was 1% below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.58 million head, down 1% from December 2016. The average live weight was down 2 lb. from the previous year, at 1,379 lb.
Veal production totaled 6.6 million pounds, 4% below December a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 46,400 head, down 5% from December 2016. The average live weight was up 5 lb. from last year, at 245 lb.
Lamb Production Lower
Lamb and mutton production, at 12.8 million pounds, was down 2% from December 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 188,100 head, 5% below last year. The average live weight was 136 lb., up 3 lb. from December a year ago.
U.S. Read Meat Production Up
U.S. commercial red meat production totaled 4.40 billion pounds in December, up slightly from the 4.40 billion pounds produced in December 2016.
January to December 2017 commercial red meat production was 52.0 billion pounds, up 3% from 2016. Accumulated beef production was up 4% from last year, veal was down 1%, pork was up 3% from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 3%.