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Retail Prices Set New Record

23 May 2011
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

US - Retail beef prices set a new record last month. The average price of choice beef in grocery stores during April was $4.821 per pound, up 7.4 cents from March and 38.1 cents higher than in April 2010, writes Ron Plain.

This was the fourth consecutive month with record beef prices. The 5 area average price for slaughter steers in April was $119.80/cwt, a record for the fifth consecutive month. The farmers' share of the retail beef dollar was 51.1 per cent in March and 52.1 per cent in April. These were the first months above 50 per cent since January 2006.

USDA's May Cattle on Feed report today said the number of cattle placed on feed during April was up 9.9 per cent and the number marketed during April was down 2.7 per cent, leaving the May 1 on feed inventory up 7.4 per cent. The trade forecast was for the number of cattle on feed to be up 6.5 per cent at the start of May.

Pasture conditions are not good for springtime which is one reason the number of cattle being placed on feed is so high. In mid May only 52 per cent of US pasture and range conditions were rated good or excellent. A year ago, 64 per cent of pastures were rated good or excellent. Pasture conditions are especially bad in the southern plains. Pastures rated poor or very poor account for 71 per cent of the pastures in Texas, 80 per cent in New Mexico, and 50 per cent in Oklahoma.

Boxed beef prices are slightly higher after five weeks of decline. Friday morning the choice boxed beef carcass cutout value was $175.08/cwt, up 24 cents from last week. The select carcass cutout was up 52 cents from the previous Friday to $171.46 per hundred pounds of carcass weight.

Fed cattle prices are lower for the fourth week in a row. The 5-area daily weighted average price for slaughter steers sold through Thursday of this week on a live weight basis was $108.36/cwt, down $4.81 from last week. Steers sold on a dressed weight basis this week averaged $176.75/cwt, $6.40 lower than the week before. This week in 2010 the average 5-area live price for steers was $97.05/cwt and the carcass price was $154.70/cwt.

This week's cattle slaughter totaled 654,000 head, up 0.2 per cent from the week before, but down 4.5 per cent compared to the same week last year. The average steer dressed weight for the week ending May 7 was 816 pounds, up 1 pound from the week before and 10 pounds heavier than for the same week in 2010.

Cash bids for feeder cattle around the country this week were mostly $1 to $4 lower than last week. However, Oklahoma City prices were $2 to $3 higher on stocker cattle and steady on feeder cattle with price ranges for medium and large frame #1 steers: 400-450# $151-$166.50, 450-500# $150-$162, 500-550# $147-$158.50, 550-600# $137-$147, 600-650# $135-$144.50, 650-700# $126-$140.50, 700-750# $127.75-$134.25, 750-800# $123.50-$131, 800-900# $119.75-$130 and 900-1000# $118-$122.75/cwt.

The June fed cattle futures contract ended the week at $104.975/cwt, down $4.03 from last week's close. The August contract closed out the week at $107.10/cwt.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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