Red meat production increased slightly in 2015, beef down, pork and veal were up

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 56 views 

Cumulative red meat production for the United States totaled 48.5 billion pounds in 2015, 2% higher than the previous year, according the annual meat processing report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Red meat includes beef, veal, pork and lamb. Commercial processing accounted for the majority of the slaughter and processing for a total of 48.4 billion pounds last year.

Beef production totaled 23.8 billion pounds, down 2% from the previous year. Veal production totaled 87.8 million pounds, down 12% from last year. Pork production, at 24.5 billion pounds, was 7% above the previous year. Lamb and mutton production totaled 155.6 million pounds, down 3% from 2014.

Commercial cattle slaughter during 2015 totaled 28.8 million head, down 5% from 2014, with federal inspection comprising 98.4% of the total. The average live weight was 1,360 pounds, up 30 pounds from a year ago. More than half the slaughter were steers at 54.2% of the total federally inspected cattle slaughter last year. Heifers were 26%, dairy cows 10.3%, other cows at 7.9% and bulls were 1.6%. There were also 452,600 calves slaughtered, which was 20% fewer than in the prior year.

Food companies slaughtered 8% more hogs last year at 115.4 million head, with 99.3% of them slaughtered under federal inspection. Commercial sheep and lamb slaughter, at 2.22 million head, was down 4% from the previous year with 89.9% by federal inspection.

The USDA said there were 808 plants slaughtering under federal inspection on Jan. 1, compared with 881 last year. Of these, 641 plants slaughtered at least one head of cattle during 2015 with the 13 largest plants slaughtering 57% of the total cattle killed.

Hogs were slaughtered at 613 plants, with the 13 largest plants accounting for 60% of the total. For calves, 3 of the 203 plants accounted for 42% of the total and 2 of the 518 plants that slaughtered sheep or lambs in 2015 comprised 43% of the total head. Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas accounted for 49% of the United States commercial red meat production in 2015, unchanged from 2014.