Packing plants back to full speed as pork production hits record high for June
By Robert Pore, The Grand Island Independent (NE)
Jul 26, 2020
Before the pandemic, America and Nebraska packing plants were running at record level. When the coronavirus spread, packing houses slowed or temporarily as workers became sick. Plants began to implement new procedures to protect their workers. Because of the slowdown at the packing plants, supply lines were disrupted from the farm to the consumer. Prices increased, shortages were experience, animals had to be euthanized and foul play was cried because of suspected price manipulation.
But the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that, for June, commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.79 billion pounds in June, up 10% from the 4.37 billion pounds produced in June 2019.
Leading the resurgence was pork production. The USDA reported that June pork production totaled 2.40 billion pounds, up 13% from the previous year.
The USDA said hog slaughter totaled 11.2 million head in June, up 12% from June 2019. The average live weight was up 3 pounds from the previous year, at 288 pounds.
Leading the way in hog slaughter was Iowa. Iowa hog slaughter plants killed 3.419 million hogs in June. That was 400,000 more than in June 2019.
In Nebraska, hog killings were 710,500 head. That was a slaughter increase from 623,000 head in June 2019. The average live weight of the hog was 287 pounds, 3 pounds more than the previous year in June.
That hog slaughter propelled Iowa to be the leading commercial red meat production state. Total red meat production in Iowa in June was 762.2 million pounds. In May, when the virus was affecting Iowa hog production, red meat production was 606 million pounds. In June 2019, June red meat production in Iowa was 668 million pounds.
In Nebraska, June commercial red meat production was 692.2 million pounds. A month earlier, again when the virus was disrupting packing houses, total red meat production in the state was 462.3 million pounds. In June 2019, total red meat production in Nebraska was 671.4 million pounds.
Beef production, nationwide, was at 2.37 billion pounds. The USDA said that was 7% above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.88 million head, up 2% from June 2019. The average live weight was up 52 pounds from the previous year, at 1,365 pounds...