There were nearly 403.6 million lbs. of frozen beef in the nation’s freezers as of May 31, a dramatic 26.7 million lbs. (6%) decline from the end of April and a dramatic 61.1 million-lb. (13%) plunge from year-ago. The April to May drop more than doubled the 10-year average decline of 10.2 million pounds. That signals strong demand for beef as grilling season got underway, despite soggy weather for many areas of the country, and that demand strength is even more impressive when one considers large domestic beef production of late—both from a cyclical and a seasonal perspective.
The story was a bit different for pork. USDA reports there were 628.660 million lbs. of pork in the nation’s freezers at the end of May, up 7.2 million lbs. from April 30 and a 4.9 million-lb. gain from year-ago. Frozen pork stocks were up roughly 1% from both month- and year-ago levels. The 10-year average points to a 22.3 million-lb. decline from April to May, clearly suggesting poor pork demand, especially considering the recent slaughter surge did not begin until late-May. It is worth noting, however, that Mexican tariffs on U.S. pork were lifted partway through the month, which could improve overall demand going forward.
Consumers demand also helped to put a dent in frozen poultry stocks last month. USDA reports there were 1.332 billion lbs. of poultry in frozen storage as of May 31, a 6% decline from year-ago and a 2% crop versus April.