June 30, 2020


Red meat production in Nebraska, US, falls in May due to COVID-19 pandemic



The COVID-19 pandemic has severely hampered commercial red meat production in the US state of Nebraska, leading to a significant drop in production in May, The Grand Island Independent reported.


As a result, local consumers witnessed price hikes and rationing at food stores as slaughterhouse operations slowed down. May's commercial red meat production was 462.3 million pounds, down from 548.7 million pounds in April and down from 685.6 million pounds in May this year.


In the month, US commercial red meat production was 3.76 billion pounds, down 18% from the 4.57 billion pounds in May 2019, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).


Nebraska, which ranked second behind Iowa in commercial red meat production in May, was especially hard hit in the cattle sector of commercial red meat production. In the month, Nebraska beef slaughterhouses killed 398,900 head compared to 662,500 head in May 2019.


Nationwide, beef production, at 1.87 billion pounds, was 20% below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.28 million head, down 23% from May 2019. The average live weight was up 51 pounds from the previous year, at 1,367 pounds. In Nebraska, in May, the average live weight was 1,442 pounds up from 1,357 pounds the previous year.


Nebraska is also one of the nation's top hog slaughters. However, the virus has also impacted pork slaughter plants in the state. In May, slaughter plants slaughtered 511,100 hogs, down from 643,100 hogs in May 2019.


Nationwide, pork production totaled 1.88 billion pounds, down 15% from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 8.59 million head, down 17% from May 2019. The average live weight was up seven pounds from the previous year, at 294 pounds.


The USDA reported that January to May 2020 commercial red meat production, nationwide, was 22.0 billion pounds, down 2% from 2019.


Accumulated beef production was down 4% from last year, veal was down 11%, and pork was up slightly from last year.


- The Grand Island Independent