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Pork carcasses hanging in cooler marina_karkalicheva/iStock/Thinkstock

Combined meat, poultry cold storage supply higher

April beef and pork supplies decline slightly from previous month.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest “Cold Storage” report showed that beef, pork, chicken and turkey supplies at the end of April totaled 2.455 billion lb., a 2.1% increase over the same period last year.

In CME Group’s “Daily Livestock Report,” Steiner Consulting Group (SCG) said there was a lot of speculation leading up to the USDA report that high prices would result in a sharp pullback in cold storage. However, this was not the case, the firm said, “possibly because the sharp decline in foodservice demand may have prevented those processors that service that segment of the market found it very difficult to clear their inventory.”

According to SCG, the big spike in prices was the result of lower slaughter and limited retail supplies, as “frozen inventories could do little to ease spot retail shortages.”

Total red meat supplies in freezers, at 1.15 billion lb., were down 1% from March but up 5% from April 2019. Total beef in freezers was 489.99 million lb., a 2% decline from March but a 14% increase from last year. Frozen pork supplies, at 614.81 million lb., were down slightly from the previous month and down 1% from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were 3% higher than last month and 32% higher than last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on April 30, 2020, were at 1.36 billion lb., a 3% rise from the previous month but down slightly from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 1% from the previous month and up 6% from last year, at 933.59 million lb. Total pounds of turkey in freezers, at 417.03 million lb., were up 8% from last month but down 12% from April 30, 2019.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on April 30, 2020, were 8% higher than the previous month and 6% higher than April 30, 2019. Butter stocks were up 19% from last month and up 27% from a year ago.

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