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CME: Cold Storage of Red Meat, Poultry Up from a Year Ago

27 January 2020

US - USDA released the monthly 'Cold Storage' report on 22 January 2020, reports Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

Cold storage of beef, pork, chicken and turkey totaled 2.23 billion pounds, up 3.2 percent from the same month last year and 7.7 percent higher than the five-year average. Growth of 15.0 percent and 9.1 percent for pork and chicken to 580.9 and 936.4 million pounds, respectively, are causing the increase. Beef and turkey were 481.0 and 233.1 million pounds, for December, down 2.9 percent and 23.0 percent, respectively.

The elevated levels of pork in cold storage are primarily due to bellies, loins, and, to a lesser extent, hams. For December 2019, pork bellies were 65.0 million pounds, up 6.0 percent from the same month last year while pork loins were up 45.6 percent to 49.7 million pounds.

In 2019, pork bellies have been above last year except two months, March and April. Similarly, loins have been above last year each month except January and February. Total hams (bone-in and boneless) in cold storage were 85.0 million pounds, up 16.2 percent from last year. Likely due to the slower pace of shipments to Mexico.

For 2019, total beef in cold storage has been below last year’s levels each month except January and February. Beef cuts for December were 30.1 million pounds, down 10.3 percent from last year, making each month of 2019 below last year’s level.

The low beef supplies in cold storage is an indication of strong beef demand. This is impressive given 2019 total commercial cattle slaughter was 33.55 million head (up 1.7 percent), the highest since 2011, and commercial beef production was a record at 27.2 billion pounds.

The increase in total chicken in cold storage is largely due to a rise in chicken leg quarters. December chicken leg quarters were 81.6 million pounds, up 32.8 percent from last year. In 2019, nearly 50 percent of total US broiler exports each month were comprised of leg quarters.

China lifted its ban on US poultry in November 2019. That same month, 92.8 percent of US shipments to China were leg quarters (about 2.6 million pounds). Much of the increase of chicken and leg quarters in cold storage could potentially be product staged for shipment. Official trade statistics for December will give better insights to the rise of chicken in cold storage.

You can view the USDA's latest Cold Storage report by clicking here.

Daily Livestock Report - Copyright © 2008 CME. All rights reserved.

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