US saw record pork production in 2015

A 7% increase in pork production offset decreases in all other categories of US red meat production.

Red meat production in the US grew by 2 percent in 2015 to 48.5 billion pounds on the strength of record pork production, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.

Commercial hog slaughter totalled 115.4 million head in 2016, an 8 percent increase from the previous year. Pork production increased by 7 percent from 2014 to 24.5 billion pounds. Pork production is forecast to go up 2 percent in 2016 to a record 11.3 million tons.

The increase in pork production was nearly offset by declines across all other red meat categories, which includes beef, veal, and lamb and mutton. Beef production was down 2 percent from 2014, at 23.8 billion pounds. At 87.8 million pounds, veal production was down 12 percent. The total number of production plants in the US also decreased to 808 from 881 in 2015.

Pork prices have fallen significantly since a mid-2014 high amid a flood of supply that reached its peak at the end of last year, leading prices to bottom out. Researchers from Rabobank have predicted a slow recovery in prices over the course of 2016.

In addition to issues of oversupply, a strong dollar is expected to drive US livestock exports down in 2016.

Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas accounted for 49 percent of the United States commercial red meat production in 2015 and 2014.

Source: USDA.