USDA reports record pork production for December

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – Pork production reached a record high in December as the pork industry continues its recovery from an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus that killed millions of piglets.

Pork production totaled 2.11 billion lbs., up 2 percent from December 2013, the US Department of Agriculture indicated in its Livestock Slaughter report. Hog slaughter climbed 1 percent to total 9.85 million head. The average live weight increased 3 lbs. from December 2013 to 286 lbs.

Beef production for December declined 2 percent from the comparable year-ago period, USDA reported. Cattle slaughter fell 5 percent to 2.44 million head. The average live weight was up 29 lbs. from the previous year to 1,363 lbs., according to USDA.

Veal production dropped 22 percent to 7.6 million lbs. Calf slaughter fell 35 percent to 43,000 head compared to December 2013. The average live weight was up 51 lbs. from last year, at 302 lbs.

Lamb and mutton production gained 3 percent in December 2014, USDA said. Sheep slaughter totaled 200,000 head which represented a slight increase from the year-ago period. The average live weight advanced 3 lbs. to 286 lbs.

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.14 billion lbs., a slight increase from December 2013, USDA reported.

Livestock slaughter from January to December 2014 declined 4 percent to 47.3 billion lbs., according to USDA. Accumulated beef production fell 6 percent; veal was down 16 percent; pork declined 1 percent; and lamb and mutton production registered a slight decline.
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