CATTLE OUTLOOK – Ron Plain and Scott Brown
Ag Economics, MU December 18, 2015
The average price of choice beef at retail during November was $6.213
per pound. This was down 1.8 cents from the month before and down 9.0
cents from a year ago. The average grocery store price for all fresh
beef was $6.003/pound, down 3.3 cents from the month before, but up
9.2 cents from a year ago.
The 5 area average price for slaughter steers in November was
$128.30/cwt, down $5.10 from the month before and down a huge $42.70
from a year ago.
Because slaughter prices are dropping faster than retail beef prices,
the marketing spread has become record large. The farm to retail
price spread was a record $3.396 per pound at retail during November.
This was up 8.7 cents from the month before and up 76.3 cents from a
The wholesale-retail price spread was a record $2.973 per pound in
November, up 0.1 cent from October and up 53.4 cents from a year ago.
The farm-wholesale price spread was 42.3 per retail pound in November,
up 8.6 cents from October and up 22.9 cents from a year ago.
Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold
on a live weight basis was $116.66/cwt, down $1.75 from last week’s
average and down $40.85 from a year ago. The 5 area average dressed
price this week for steers was $183.36/cwt, down $3.92 for the week
and down $66.56 compared to the same week last year.
This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $194.63/cwt, down
$8.42 from the previous Friday. The select carcass cutout was
$186.69/cwt, down $1.76 from last week.
Cattle slaughter this week totaled 590,000 head, up 1.5% from the week
before and up 6.7% from the same week last year. Slaughter will be
very light next week because of the Christmas holiday.
The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on December 5 was
913 pounds, down 10 pounds from the week before, but up 12 pounds from
a year ago. This was the 77th consecutive week with weights above the
Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City were $8 to $15 lower this week.
Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were:
400-450# $199-$215, 450-500# $180-$207, 500-550# $184-$201, 550-600#
$160.50-$185, 600-650# $148.50-$169, 650-700# $137.50-$158.50,
700-750# $141.50-$152.50, 750-800# $133.50-$149.75, 800-900#
$133.50-$151.50 and 900-1000#, $132-$141/cwt.
Cattle futures were up the limit on Friday, but were still lower for
the week. The December live cattle futures contract settled at
$120.15/cwt today, down $1.30 for the week. February fed cattle
settled at $125.52/cwt, down 73 cents from the previous week. January
feeder cattle ended the week at $148.75/cwt, down $3.37 from a week
earlier. March lost $2.175 this week and closed at $147.95/cwt.