American red meat production totaled 4.40 billion pounds in December of 2017, up slightly from December of the previous year.
For the calendar year 2017, commercial red meat production was 52 billion pounds. That was three percent higher than the previous year. Additional packing capacity helped make 2017 a very good year for pork producers. Large export demand at home and overseas kept cattle supplies busy.
Pork production hit a record high of 2.23 billion pounds in December, up one percent from 2016. Hog slaughter totaled 10.5 million head, down slightly over the previous December. Beef production in December reached 2.15 billion pounds, down one percent from 2016. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.58 million head, down one percent from December of the previous year.
Lamb and mutton production was 12.8 million pounds in December, down two percent over December of 2016. Sheep slaughter was just 188,100 head, a five percent drop from 2016.