December yields record for U.S. beef

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – For December, commercial red-meat production for the U.S. totaled 4.15 billion lbs., down slightly from the 4.16 billion lbs. produced in December 2008, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture. But beef production was 2% above the previous year, totaling 2.13 billion lbs.

Cattle slaughter totaled 2.75 million head, up 3% from December 2008. The average live weight, however, was down 7 lbs. from the previous year at 1,296 lbs.

Veal production totaled 13.1 million lbs., 2% below December one year earlier. Calf slaughter totaled 92,300 head, down 2% from December 2008. The average live weight was down 5 lbs. from last year at 240 lbs.

Totaling 1.99 billion lbs., pork production was down 3% from December the previous year. Hog kill totaled 9.83 million head, down 3% from December 2008. At 270 lbs., the average live weight was unchanged from the previous year.

Lamb and mutton production was up 3%, at 15.9 million lbs., from December 2008. Sheep slaughter totaled 235,300 head, 2% above last year. The average live weight was 136 lbs., up 2 lbs. from December a year ago.

From January to December 2009, commercial red meat production was 49.3 billion lbs., down 2% from 2008. Accumulated beef production was down 2% from last year, veal was down 3%, pork was down 2% from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 2%.
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