Pork carcasses hanging in cooler marina_karkalicheva/iStock/Thinkstock

Cold storage protein supplies continue to climb

Red meat 4% higher than prior month but 4% lower than April 2016.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the May “Cold Storage” report this week, showing that total combined supplies of beef, pork, chicken and turkey in cold storage at the end of April were 2.333 billion lb., a 1% increase from the prior month and a 4.4% increase from a year ago.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were 4% higher than the previous month but 4% lower than last year. Total beef in freezers was down 1% from the previous month at 458.4 million lb. and also was down 2% from last year. Frozen pork supplies were 9% higher than the previous month at 599.1 million lb. but 6% lower than last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 66% from last month but down 53% from last year.

USDA reported that total frozen poultry supplies on April 30, 2017, were 7% higher than the previous month and up 5% from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 4% from the previous month at 797.8 million lb. but were down 1% from last year. Total turkey in freezers was 11% higher than last month at 477.3 million lb., which was 20% higher than April 30, 2016.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on April 30, 2017, were up 3% from the previous month and up 10% from last April. Butter stocks were up 7% from last month but down 1% from a year ago.

In the “Daily Livestock Report,” Steiner Consulting Group (SCG) said the report contained some positive implications for red meat demand in April.

“Output during the month increased significantly, and yet supplies in cold storage at the end of the month largely increased in line with the normal seasonal (pace) rather than showing a significant buildup,” SCG noted.

The poultry picture is a bit mixed, SCG said. Some products indicated very robust demand, while others appear to still be struggling with burdensome supplies, the group added.

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