Marketing Spread Wide As Slaughter Prices Dip Beyond Retail Beef Prices








   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 year ago.
   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 percent from the week before and up 6.7 percent 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 year-ago level.
   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. ∆
   DR. RON PLAIN AND DR. SCOTT BROWN: Agricultural Economists, University of Missouri
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