Today's Beef Garners Farmers More Dollars

   The average retail price for fresh beef during June was a record $6.114 per pound. That is up 5.9 pounds from the month before, up 60.6 cents from a year ago, and up 5.3 cents from the old record set in March of this year.
   The average price for choice beef in grocery stores in June was $6.406 per pound, down 0.6 cents for the record set the month before.
   The 5 area average live price for slaughter steers was $151.20/cwt during June, down $9.50 from May, but up $1.80 from June 2014.
   The June farm-to-retail price spread was a record $3.095 per pound. That is up a huge 20.2 cents from the old record set the month before.
   USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report says 9 percent of U.S. pastures were in poor or very poor condition on July 13. That is the same as the week before and 7 points lower than a year ago.
   Fed cattle prices this week were lower on very light sales volume. Through Thursday, the 5-area average price for slaughter steers sold on a live weight basis was $146.00/cwt, down $5.43 from last week and down $10.02 from the same days last year. The 5 area average dressed price this week for steers was $235.00/cwt, down $5.27 compared to last week and down $11.57 compared to the same week last year.
   Beef cutout also had a big drop this week. This morning the choice boxed beef cutout value was $233.31/cwt, down $5.72 from the previous Friday and down $15.01 from a year ago. The select carcass cutout was $229.68/cwt this morning down $6.36 from last week and down $12.59 from a year earlier.
   This week cattle slaughter totaled 538,000 head, down 2.4 percent from the week before and down 7.9 percent from the same week last year.
   The average steer dressed weight for the week ending on July 4 was 875 pounds, up 3 pounds from the week before, up 14 pounds compared to the same week last year, and above the year-ago level for the 55th consecutive week.
   Feeder cattle prices at Oklahoma City this week were not comparable to last week which had light volume. Prices for medium and large frame #1 steers by weight group were: 400-450# $310, 450-500# $269-$283, 500-550# $263.50-$288, 550-600# $238-$258.50, 600-650# $226-$246, 650-700# $215-$247.25, 700-750# $222.25-$239, 750-800# $223-$232, 800-900# $211-$221 and 900-1000#, $203-$215/cwt.
   Fed cattle futures were lower this week. The August live cattle futures contract settled at $146.65/cwt today, down $1.82 for the week. October fed cattle settled at $149.12/cwt, down $2.68 from the previous week. December fed cattle lost $1.63 this week to settle at $151.22/cwt.
   The August feeder cattle contract ended the week at $215.20/cwt, up $3.45 for the week. The September feeder cattle contract gained $3.20 this week and closed at $213.42/cwt. ∆
   DR. RON PLAIN AND DR. SCOTT BROWN: Agricultural Economists, University of Missouri
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