A recent Purdue study revealed consuming red meat in amounts above what is typically recommended does not affect short-term cardiovascular disease risk factors such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol. This is good news for us meat eaters. Another bit of good news is that there will be plenty of meat to eat in 2017. Two USDA reports last week indicated beef and pork production at high levels.
USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam said US pork production in 2016 will top what had been the previous record set in 2015, “The number of hogs as of December 1st was just over 75 million head, 4% more than a year ago.” He added the breeding herd also increased by 1% in 2016 which means more pork for 2017. Producers farrowed 5% more sows in the 4th quarter, leading to the largest pig crop in U.S. history. Farrowing intentions for the first and second quarters of 2017 were also up 1%.
Indiana pork production mirrored the national trend. Indiana’s total hog and pig inventory on December 1 was estimated at 4.1 million head, up 250,000 head from a year ago, according to Greg Matli, State Statistician of the USDA, NASS, Indiana Field Office. Breeding hog inventory, at 270,000 head, was unchanged from last December. Market hog inventory, at 3,830,000 head, was up 7 percent from last year.
In Friday’s Cattle on Feed report, cattle numbers were only off just slightly. According to USDA analyst Seanicaa Herron, placement numbers were up, “Total cattle place on feed in November was 10.8 million head up 15% from a year ago.”
This higher level of production will keep prices under pressure in 2017, but will keep the meat case full and retail prices competitive.