WASHINGTON – Commercial red meat production declined 4 percent to 3.99 billion lbs. in March, down from the 4.17 billion lbs. produced in March 2012, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Beef production was 6 percent below the previous year at 2.04 billion lbs. Cattle slaughter eased 6 percent to 2.59 million head. The average live weight increased 14 lbs. from the previous year, at 1,313 lbs., NASS reported.

Veal production was 8 percent below year-ago levels at 9.2 million lbs. Calf slaughter totaled 62,700 head, up 5 percent from March 2012. The average live weight dropped 31 lbs. from last year, at 252 lbs.

Pork production declined 3 percent to 1.93 billion lbs. Hog slaughter was down 2 percent to 9.32 million head. The average live weight declined 2 lbs. from the previous year, at 277 lbs.

Lamb and mutton production was down 3 percent to 13.8 million lbs. Sheep slaughter totaled 196,100 head, a 3 percent increase above March 2012, NASS reported. The average live weight was 141 lbs., down 8 lbs. from March a year ago.

January to March 2013 commercial red meat production declined 2 percent to 12.0 billion lbs., according to NASS. Accumulated beef production declined 2 percent from 2012, veal was down 5 percent, pork was down 1 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production dipped 3 percent.