Cattle slaughter increased by six percent last month compared to the previous year and was five percent higher than the previous month according to Thursday’s USDA Livestock Slaughter report.

Cattle slaughter totaled 2.73 million head in April of this year, bringing more animals to slaughter as beef prices started warming up with summer months approaching.

In addition to improved cattle slaughter numbers, average live weights also improved from the previous year by 14 pounds brining the average weight to 1,295 pounds. Although live weights were higher than April 2012, data shows the average weight dropped by an average of 18 pounds from the previous month. March 2013 average live weight totaled 1,313 pounds.

The higher cattle slaughter and live weight explain the improved beef production, which totaled 2.13 billion pounds in April. The monthly total is a seven percent improvement over the previous year and .09 billion pounds more than the previous month.

Total red meat production in the U.S. for April was 4.09 billion pounds, six percent higher than the previous year.

Veal production totaled 9.1 million pounds, an eight percent drop from April a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 58,600 head, up four percent from April 2012. The average live weight was down 29 pounds from last year, at 266 pounds.

January to April 2013 commercial red meat production was 16.1 billion pounds, up slightly from 2012. Accumulated beef production was up slightly from last year, veal was down 6 percent.

April 2012 contained 21 weekdays (including 0 holidays) and 4 Saturdays.
April 2013 contained 22 weekdays (including 0 holidays) and 4 Saturdays.