Commercial red meat production in the United States keeps climbing. It totaled 4.11 billion pounds in March, up 6 percent from the 3.88 billion pounds produced in March 2005.

Pork production totaled 1.87 billion pounds, up 4 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.23 million head, 3 percent above March 2005. The average live weight was 1 pound above the previous year, at 272 pounds.

Beef production, at 2.21 billion pounds, was 8 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.85 million head, up 5 percent from March 2005. The average live weight was up 36 pounds from the previous year, at 1,273 pounds.

In the first quarter of 2006, commercial red meat production was 11.5 billion pounds, up 5 percent from 2005. Accumulated pork production was up 4 percent and beef production was up 6 percent from last year.

These numbers translate into more meat on the market, which will put pressure on prices. Economists predict pork producers should continue to make a profit through the third quarter of this year, but prices will start dropping.

National Agricultural Statistics Service