Update on Cattle Inventory and Meat Sales

Analyst watch the trends in the livestock industry ahead of the July Cattle Inventory Report.

Beef Cow Slaughter is ahead of 2019’s year-to-date numbers by about 2 percent. It was much further ahead before the pandemic hit but plant closures slowed the pace recently by as much as 20 percent from 2019.

Heifer slaughter is down as well suggesting producers are adding more breeding animals to their herds. Reports states that this could be tied more closely to the current economic climate, rather than a direct impact from COVID-19.

The numbers are in for meat sales leading up to Memorial Day and both the dollar value and volume are up. Retail sales for the week of May 24th were up more than 20 percent in value over last year and volume rose more than 5 percent. Year-to-date volume is up more than 17 percent, representing an additional 1.2 billion pounds of meat sold this year, compared to 2019.