JBS Cyber Attack and Cattle Slaughter Update

Jun 10, 2021

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By James Mitchell

The cyber-attack that JBS suffered last week presented U.S. and global meat and livestock supply chains with a new set of challenges. Josh summarized the details of the cyberattack that were available as of Tuesday. As the news broke, the two big questions were what would the impacts be and how long would those impacts last. I will review these impacts for cattle slaughter in today’s article, but note that meat supplies and prices, especially on the spot market, were also impacted by last week’s events.

Estimates indicate (see below) that the cyberattack impacted roughly one-fifth of total cattle capacity in the U.S. Cattle slaughter was down 14.5 percent last week compared to the prior week. However, the weekly data shows the effects of the cyberattack and last week being a holiday week. Daily cattle slaughter provides a more accurate representation of last week’s events.

Cattle slaughter

The second figure (see below) shows daily cattle slaughter for weeks ending May 22, May 29, and June 5. It is important to note that the data reflect estimates and does not distinguish between steer and heifer slaughter and cow slaughter. On Tuesday, cattle slaughter was down 27,000 head or 22 percent compared to the previous week. Wednesday slaughter was down 13 percent compared to the previous week. JBS released a statement that operations would resume at all of their production facilities by June 3. The data shows that Thursday’s slaughter was on par with the past two weeks. Plants likely ran hard over the weekend to make up for last week’s disruptions. Excluding the holiday weekend, Saturday slaughter was 26 percent above Saturday slaughter from two weeks ago.

Excluding the holiday weekend, Saturday slaughter was 26 percent above Saturday slaughter from two weeks ago.

For me, the take-home message from the second figure is not the size of the impact that the cyberattack had on cattle slaughter. Instead, I think the rate of recovery in cattle slaughter is remarkable given the scope of the attack on JBS operations. It took less than a week for cattle slaughter to return to levels observed before the cyberattack. This does not imply that the cattle slaughter situation is fully resolved. Statements from JBS indicate that it will take the remainder of this week to recover from last week’s lost production.

Source : osu.edu

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