U.S. red meat and poultry production has “fully recovered” from the disruptions earlier this spring caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s the conclusion of Steiner Consulting Group following an analysis of June production data showing combined beef, pork, chicken and turkey production was estimated at 9.046 billion pounds, an increase of 8.2% over June of 2019.
“Retailers have plenty of protein to fill the meat case,” Steiner wrote in the Daily Livestock Report. “There were two more production days than a year ago in June, which also helped bolster production. In July the number of production days will be the same, which should offer a better comparison base. Still, we expect July output to surpass last year’s levels as well, with pork once again leading the pack in terms of supply growth.”
Steiner notes that pork wholesale values have been under pressure, but those declines are due to a 12.8% increase in June prok production. Even adjusted for the additional marketing days, June pork production increased 2.6% from 2019.
“Competition at retail is heating up and it will get ever fiercer in the fall,” Steiner says. “It is clear that producers of the various species do not want to concede any ground to competitors.”
Specifically, Steiner expects broiler production to increase in the coming months.
“As the situation at broiler plants normalized and labor issues subsided, broiler producers have started to ramp up. On July 1, the size of the broiler type hatching flock increased by 305,000 head or 0.5%. This is about a third of the reduction in the previous two months.”
Steiner says the broiler hatching flock is now 3.4% higher than the previous year, and with a flock size running well above last year’s levels, “the expectations is that chick placements and ultimately broiler slaughter will continue to run above year ago levels.”