Fatter Cattle Boost U.S. Meat Output as Slaughter Rates Sag


Michael Hirtzer and Dominic Carey, Bloomberg

via Yahoo Finance - November 17, 2020


(Bloomberg) -- Heavier animals helped shore up U.S. production of beef, chicken and turkey last quarter even as the coronavirus slowed processing at meat-packing plants.


During the third quarter, weights of cattle, chicken and turkeys rose while slaughter rates fell, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report Tuesday. Beef production showed the most marked contrast, climbing 2.7% from a year ago as weights rose 2.8% and slaughter slipped 0.1%.


The dynamic is a knock-on effect from the pandemic. Meat plants that were forced to shut down earlier this year as workers caught the virus have continued to struggle with employee absenteeism, resulting in slower slaughter rates. As a result, some farmers have been holding back their animals longer and feeding them more.


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