American meat lovers probably will continue to pay higher-than-normal prices for beef as measures to mitigate the coronavirus risk keep U.S. plants below capacity for months.
A major U.S. producer, National Beef, is now running at 85% capacity, compared with 100% a year ago and the current industry rate of 75%. They do not expect that the industry will get back to anywhere near full capacity until at least the end of June, more than likely sometime July, August. And we may not get back to the same levels because today we have fewer people on the production lines due to a separation of workstations and so forth.
On a specific day a Brazilian meat giant reported a jump in first-quarter earnings before items amid higher sales and margins in the U.S. from a year ago. More than 70% of its revenues come from U.S. operations.
Source: Bloomberg.com, 5-19-2020