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Red meat in cold storage remains lower

marina_karkalicheva/iStock/Thinkstock Pork carcasses hanging in cooler
Pork supplies up slightly from prior month but remain sharply lower than last year's levels.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its latest “Cold Storage” report, showing that total red meat supplies in freezers on Sept. 30, 2020, were up 1% from the previous month but down 13% from last year.

Frozen pork supplies were up slightly from the previous month but were still sharply lower than last year’s levels, down 22%. Stocks of pork bellies were down 20% from last month and down 39% from last year.

In CME Group’s “Daily Livestock Report,” Steiner Consulting Group said the latest USDA numbers show that pork supplies continue to move very efficiently through the system. While total pork in cold storage was virtually unchanged from the prior month, SCG said this marks the fifth month in a row that stocks have been more than 20% below year-ago levels and shows that pork movement has largely ignored seasonal trends.

Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 3% from the previous month but down 1% from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on Sept. 30, 2020, were down 2% from the previous month and down 3% from a year ago. Total chicken stocks were up 1% from the previous month but down 3% from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 5% from last month and down 4% from Sept. 30, 2019.

SCG particularly noted that the whole turkey market remains tight heading into Thanksgiving, with the inventory of whole birds in cold storage down 12%.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on Sept. 30, 2020, were down 1% from both the previous month and the previous year. Butter stocks were down 7% from last month but up 18% from a year ago.

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