Red meat production in the United States appears to be slowing, according to recent figures released by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. From January to August 2003, commercial red meat production was 31 billion pounds, down one per cent from 2002. Accumulated beef production was also down one per cent from last year.
In the month of august alone, US commercial red meat production totaled 3.91 billion pounds, down five per cent from the 4.14 billion pounds produced in August 2002. In addition, beef production was down six percent from the previous year and cattle slaughter was down two per cent from August 2002. And at 14.2 million pounds, veal production for august has reached a new monthly low.
Lamb and mutton production, at 15.7 million pounds, was down six per cent from August 2002 and, again, was a new monthly low. Sheep slaughter totaled 241,200 head, nine per cent below last year. However the average live weight was 129 pounds, up three pounds from last August.
Calf slaughter totaled 79,700, down 17 per cent from August last year, though the average live weight was five pounds above last year, at 294 pounds.
The USDA reports that pork production has also fallen. Over 1.5 billion pounds of meat were processed in august, down 5 per cent from the previous year. Hog kill totaled just over 8 million, six per cent below figures for August 2002.