WASHINGTON – Commercial red meat production reached 4 billion lbs. in December 2012, down 5 percent from the 4.22 billion lbs. produced in December 2011 according to the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Beef production declined 5 percent to 2.02 billion lbs., according to NASS. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.54 million head, down 8 percent from the comparable year ago period. The average live weight increased 26 lbs. from the previous year, to 1,323 lbs.

Veal production declined 9 percent to 9.8 million lbs. in December 2012. Calf slaughter totaled 65,400 head, down 10 percent from December 2011. The average live weight climbed 1 lb. from December 2011 to 254 lbs., NASS reported.

Pork production totaled 1.95 billion lbs., down 5 percent from 2011 levels. Hog slaughter declined 5 percent to 9.47 million head, according to NASS. The average live weight eased 2 lbs. compared to December 2011 to 276 lbs.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.8 million pounds, was up 3 percent from compared to December 2011. Sheep slaughter gained 5 percent to total 189,700 head. However, the average live weight declined 4 lbs. to 135 lbs., NASS said.

January to December 2012 commercial red meat production was 49.4 billion lbs., a slight increase from 2011. Accumulated beef production declined 1 percent from 2011 levels, veal was down 9 percent, pork gained 2 percent from 2011 levels, and lamb and mutton production climbed 5 percent, according to NASS.