Beef production, cattle slaughter decline slightly from 2011

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The USDA’s 2011 livestock slaughter summary shows total red meat production increased over the previous year, lifted by pork while beef production fell slightly lower.

Beef production totaled 26.3 billion pounds accounting for over 53 percent of last year’s total red meat production.

Beef production declined as the number of cattle slaughtered and cattle weights both decreased from the previous year. Commercial cattle slaughter in 2011 was 34.1 million head. The average live weight was two percent lower than the previous year at 1,277 pounds. Steers comprised 49.3 percent of the total federally inspected cattle slaughter, heifers 29.0 percent, dairy cows 8.7 percent, other cows 11.3 percent, and bulls 1.7 percent.

Total veal production last year totaled 138 million pounds, a four percent decline from the previous year. Total production fell lower as the total head was three percent lower, however the average weight increased by one pound. Commercial calf slaughter totaled 852,500 head. The average live weight was 263 pounds.

Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas accounted for 49 percent of the United States commercial red meat production in 2011, similar to 2010.

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