After a number of brutal weeks in late April and early May, the trend toward positive news in the livestock sector continues. During the Secretary of Agriculture Livestock Teleconference on Tuesday, June 9, participants shared glimmers of hope that the industry is beginning to see something more akin to a normal environment.
Weekend Warriors Pick Up Lows of Dialy Production
The biggest positive note came from Economics Professor Lee Schultz, Iowa State University Extension, who provided a recap of production in the state. Even though packers are running slightly below full capacity on a daily level, weekend slaughter is outpacing any lag in daily production. That added capacity is turning the trend toward reducing the backlog of animals in the system, which is welcome news as livestock farmers have turned all of their energy to slowing rate of gain for animals and lengthening the time to market.
According to Schulz, Iowa still has a surplus of 100,000 cattle that need to be harvested. But, weights are beginning to drop, and packers processed more than 500,000 head of cattle this past week, which is the highest level since early April and just six percent off from this time last year. Daily pork production is down nine percent, but weekly production is two percent higher than a year ago, which is finally reducing the number of hogs backed up in the system.
Feeding Iowa Task Force Updates
Other positive news came from the Iowa State University Meat Lab which has begun processing meat for programs covered under the Feeding Iowa Task Force. The lab will be expanding the overall ability of the state to process beef and pork for food banks as part of the existing and new programs ramping up in the coming weeks.
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig shared that last week, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), along with Iowa’s governor and senators, sent a note to the nation’s capital imploring the administration to add liquid egg producers to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) list of covered commodities. Liquid eggs dropped from 53 cents to six cents per pound during the worst of the pandemic disruption.
How You Can Make A Difference
The Agribusiness Association of Iowa is an invited member of the Livestock call and association staff takes part in the call each week. Both AAI staff and AAI members also take part in the Agriculture Secretary’s Crop Production Call each Thursday. Updates from the Crop Production Call are provided in the Take Five.