As expected, supplies of meat in storage are up both on a monthly and yearly basis. USDA’s Cold Storage report reflects meat in storage as of Feb. 28. Total red meat is up 8% from January and 12% from last year, mainly because of a 15% increase in pork month to month and 5% over last year, to a February record of 686.1 million pounds. Beef is up just slightly—all of the boneless variety (up 23%) as cuts are down 5% from last year.
Poultry, some of which is shut out of global markets due to outbreaks of bird flu, added to the burdensome stocks, with increases of 4% on the month and 6% on the year.
Together, there are 195.5 million more pounds of red meat and poultry in freezers this year than this time last year. Pork and poultry will fight for market share, especially as long as 40 countries ban some U.S. poultry. Beef will remain a premium product, but at the cost of losing market share. However, Monday eve3ring after the report, cattle futures were up and even hog futures were mixed.
Dairy and cheese stocks also were up—by 20% over last month and 4% from a year ago for butter and 2% over last month and 5% over last year for cheese.