Red Meat Production Below Last Year

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Total red meat production for the United States totaled 49.4 billion pounds in 2009, 2 percent lower than the previous year. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, and lamb and mutton. Red meat production in commercial plants totaled 49.3 billion pounds. On-farm slaughter totaled 139 million pounds.

Beef production totaled 26.1 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the previous year. Veal production totaled 147 million pounds, down 3 percent from last year. Pork production, at 23.0 billion pounds, was 1 percent below the previous year. Lamb and mutton production totaled 177 million pounds, down 2 percent from 2008.

Commercial cattle slaughter during 2009 totaled 33.3 million head, down 3 percent from 2008, with federal inspection comprising 98.3 percent of the total. The average live weight was 1,293 pounds, up 11 pounds from a year ago. Steers comprised 49.8 percent of the total federally inspected cattle slaughter, heifers 29.7 percent, dairy cows 8.6 percent, other cows 10.1 percent, and bulls 1.7 percent.

Commercial calf slaughter totaled 944,200 head, 1 percent lower than a year ago with 98.5 percent under federal inspection. The average live weight was 250 pounds, down 7 pounds from a year earlier.

Commercial hog slaughter totaled 113.6 million head, 2 percent lower than 2008 with 99.1 percent of the hogs slaughtered under federal inspection. The average live weight was up 3 pounds from last year, at 271 pounds. Barrows and gilts comprised 96.7 percent of the total federally inspected hog slaughter.

Commercial sheep and lamb slaughter, at 2.52 million head, was down 2 percent from the previous year with 92.3 percent by federal inspection. The average live weight was unchanged from 2008 at 136 pounds. Lambs and yearlings comprised 93.2 percent of the total federally inspected sheep slaughter.

There were 834 plants slaughtering under federal inspection on January 1, 2010 compared with 818 last year. Of these, 633 plants slaughtered at least one head of cattle during 2009 with the 14 largest plants slaughtering 56 percent of the total cattle killed. Hogs were slaughtered at 615 plants, with the 12 largest plants accounting for 55 percent of the total. Likewise, 6 of the 276 plants that slaughtered calves accounted for 56 percent of the total and 4 of the 504 plants that slaughtered sheep or lambs in 2009 comprised 67 percent of the total head.

Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas accounted for 50 percent of the United States commercial red meat production in 2009, similar to 2008.



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