WASHINGTON – Commercial red meat production declined 6 percent to 3.95 billion lbs. in September, down from the 4.19 billion lbs. produced in September 2011, according to the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Beef production retreated 9 percent below 2011 levels to 2.02 billion lbs., NASS said. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.54 million head, down 12 percent from September 2011. The average live weight was rose 33 lbs. from the previous year to 1,311 lbs.

Veal production reached 8.8 million lbs., 17 percent below September a year ago. Calf slaughter declined 13 percent to 64,300 head compared to September 2011. The average live weight was down 17 lbs. from 2011, at 235 lbs.

Pork production slipped 2 percent to 1.91 billion lbs. Hog slaughter totaled 9.45 million head, down 2 percent from the comparable year ago period. The average live weight was up 1 lb. from the previous year, at 271 lbs.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.5 million lbs., gained 6 percent compared to September 2011. Sheep slaughter totaled 174,300 head, 2 percent below last year. The average live weight was 145 lbs., up 11 lbs. from September 2011.

January to September 2012 commercial red meat production rose slightly to 36.6 billion lbs. compared to the comparable period in 2011, NASS said. Accumulated beef production declined 2 percent from 2011, veal was down 10 percent, pork was up 3 percent from a year ago, and lamb and mutton production climbed 4 percent.