Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 1/24/2020
ELEVATED LEVELS OF PORK AND CHICKEN IN COLD STORAGE

The cold storage report for the month of December 2019 was recently released by USDA. Beef, pork, chicken and turkey in cold storage totaled 2.23 billion pounds, up 3.2% from the same month last year. Both pork and chicken increased 15.0% and 9.1%, respectively, to 580.9 and 936.4 million pounds. While beef declined 2.9% to 481.0 million pounds.


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HIGHER VOLUMES OF PRIME GRADED CATTLE CONTINUE

The percent grading prime appears to be continuing to grow in 2020.  The first two weeks of the year showed nationally a quarter to half a percent higher than in 2019.  USDA AMS releases a weekly estimated grading percent for steers and heifers that tracks these estimates back to 1997.  Last year, prime graded beef was high, ranging from 6.86% to 10.47% weekly. The five-year average ranges from 4.35% to 6.80% with the highest values in the fourth quarter.


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U.S. DAIRY HERD ADDS COWS BEFORE YEAR-END

The dairy herd has changed direction once again this year, ending the year with 9.339 million head, 14 thousand below the prior year. Dairy cows were sent to slaughter at an alarming rate in the first half of 2019, hitting records or near record highs in weekly slaughter, regularly.  The herd shrank by 35 thousand head from January to August before dairy producers added more cows.  One of the changing fundamentals for dairyman has been the comeback in the all milk price.


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