Plenty of beef for Independence Day

By : Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist

In anticipation of July 4, estimated beef production for the week ending June 27 was 562.3 million pounds, up 5.3 percent year over year.  This was based on estimated weekly slaughter of 680,000 head, 1.5 percent over year ago levels and includes an estimated Saturday slaughter of 82,000 head, up 39 percent year over year. The large Saturday slaughter was scheduled for last week since the holiday this week is on Saturday.  The actual slaughter and beef production data for the week ending June 13, confirmed that beef production exceeded year ago production levels by 0.7 percent, the first year over year weekly beef production increase since the first week of April.

After the disappointing shortages and high beef prices during Memorial Day, the improved beef situation for this grilling holiday is a great relief.  Grocery stores should be well stocked in time for July 4 and retail prices are adjusting down rapidly.  For individual stores, it may depend on their particular supply arrangements.  Retail price adjustments are following rapid decreases in wholesale beef prices.  Choice boxed beef prices increased from a pre-COVID-199 level of $208.14/cwt. on March 13 to a daily peak of $475.39 on April 12 and back to $207.17/cwt. last Friday, June 26.

Other meat is plentiful as well.  The June Hog and Pig report pegged the total hog inventory at 79.6 million head, up 5.2 percent year over year. Table 1 shows forecasts for increased pork production through 2020, with a brief modest contraction in early 2021.  The broiler industry decreased placement of chicks in finishing barns in April and May, which will lead to a modest decrease in broiler production in the third quarter.  However, total production for beef, pork and broilers is projected to increase to a new annual record in 2020 (Table 1).   Current forecasts for 2021 project a decrease in annual beef production but continued increases in pork and broiler production leading to another record level of total meat production.   


  Table 1. U.S. Meat Production*, million pounds.

 Quarter/Year20192020% change2019-20202021
BeefI64146929+8.06608
 II68176046-11.36605
 III69237315+5.76817
 IV70017115+1.66817
 Annual2715527405+0.626847
PorkI68177426+8.97126
 II66066332-4.26850
 III66707093+6.37285
 IV74457618+2.37835
 Annual2753828468+3.429095
BroilerI1027311116+8.210872
 II1082710871+0.410744
 III1128010884-3.511431
 IV1105511283+2.111262
 Annual4343544155+1.744310
Total Red Meat and Poultry^Annual104718106737+1.9107042

*2020 Q2 projected; 2020 Q3 forward forecast; ^Total includes Veal, Other Chicken, Turkey and Lamb/MuttonSource, Livestock Marketing Information Center

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