Ag stats: 2018 U.S. livestock slaughter highlights

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Published Thursday, April 25, 2019

Total red meat production for the United States totaled 53.5 billion pounds in 2018, 3 percent higher than the previous year. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, and lamb and mutton. Red meat production in commercial plants totaled 53.4 billion pounds. On-farm slaughter totaled 90.2 million pounds. 

Beef production totaled 26.9 billion pounds, up 3 percent from the previous year. Veal production totaled 80.9 million pounds, up 1 percent from last year. Pork production, at 26.3 billion pounds, was 3 percent above the previous year. Lamb and mutton production totaled 158.2 million pounds, up 5 percent from 2017. 

Commercial cattle slaughter during 2018 totaled 33.0 million head, up 3 percent from 2017, with federal inspection comprising 98.5 percent of the total. The average live weight was 1,350 pounds, up 1 pound from a year ago. 

Steers comprised 51.2 percent of the total federally inspected cattle slaughter, heifers 28.2 percent, dairy cows 9.7 percent, other cows 9.3 percent, and bulls 1.7 percent. 

Commercial calf slaughter totaled 580,300 head, 13 percent higher than a year ago with 98.5 percent under federal inspection. The average live weight was 226 pounds, down 24 pounds from a year earlier. 

Commercial hog slaughter totaled 124.4 million head, 3 percent higher than 2017 with 99.4 percent of the hogs slaughtered under federal inspection. The average live weight was up 1 pound from last year, at 283 pounds. Barrows and gilts comprised 97.3 percent of the total federally inspected hog slaughter. 

Commercial sheep and lamb slaughter, at 2.26 million head, was up 4 percent from the previous year with federal inspection comprising 88.3 percent of the total. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from 2017 at 135 pounds. Lambs and yearlings comprised 94.7 percent of the total federally inspected sheep slaughter.