The latest estimates of U.S. beef, pork and poultry production released Thursday afternoon would have you believe that there have been notable reductions in output for all three species.
But as Steve Meyer and Len Steiner point out in today’s Daily Livestock Report, the catch is that there was one less marketing day in March 2013 compared to March 2012.
That change tended to skew the results and make the supply picture appear less bullish, the economists explain.
For pork, hog slaughter in March was pegged at 9.318 million head, 2.1% smaller than a year ago. Adjusted for the difference in weekdays from last year, however, the actual average daily hog slaughter at 443,752 head was 2.5% larger than in 2012.
“While the number of hogs coming to market in March in a given weekday was higher than a year ago, the lower hog carcass weights helped keep production in check,” the economists say. Total pork production for March was 1.932 billion pounds, 2.8% lower than a year ago. But the average supply of pork headed to market in a weekday was 92 million pounds, 1.9% larger than last year.
According to the Daily Livestock Report staff, daily pork output has been limited since last fall. Now that feed costs have dropped and more pigs per litter are expected, more hogs should be headed to market later in the year.
Total cattle slaughter was 2.585 million head, 6.1% lower than the previous year. Average weekday slaughter in March was 123,114 head, 1.6% lower than a year ago.
Total commercial beef production in March was 2.038 billion pounds, 5.6% lower than a year ago.
Broiler production has been on the rise in recent months following sharply reduced supplies in late 2011 and 2012. Improved demand at both retail and foodservice outlets has bolstered prices.
Broiler production was 2.998 billion pounds for March, 1.5% smaller than a year ago, while adjusted for one less weekday, broiler production actually rose 3.2% in March.
Read the rest of today’s report at www.dailylivestockreport.com.
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