US Beef, Chicken Cold Storage Levels Dwarf Prior Years’ Levels

US cold storage inventories for beef and chicken continued to spike well above normal levels in April, amid ongoing disruptions to food supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

US beef inventories for April 2020 were 13.9% higher than April 2019, and 6% above the 5-year average. Chicken inventories for the latest month were up 6.1% versus 2019, and up 13.5% from the 5-year average. Looking just at chicken breast and breast meat, these inventories jumped sharply by 33% year over year, and were up 37.3% versus the 5-year average.

On the other hand, pork inventories saw a slight 1.1% decline versus April 2019, and were also 3.5% lower than the 5-year average. Heightened exports in 2019 and early 2020 led to an overall drawdown in pork stocks.

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