Choice beef cutoff prices continue to struggle

Jeff Swenson

Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports.

Jeff Swenson

The first Wisconsin Meat Industry Coalition Conference will be held October 13 and 14 in Madison. The conference will feature industry panels and speakers. Chris Salm and Ron Russell will be inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame during an evening dinner ceremony Thursday evening. All meat processors, livestock producers and allied industry are welcome. Information, including the full agenda and registration information can be found at:

Cattle report anticipated

The USDA will release a monthly Cattle on Feed report on Friday, September 23 after this report is published. Average trade estimates show expectations for cattle on feed to be about even with September 1 last year, but opinions on cattle placed into feedlots during August vary.

Some analysts believe placements will come in lower than last year for the remainder of 2022, while others believe September placements will match last year’s levels.

The retail price of Choice beef declined slightly in August, with a composite average of $7.58. Higher-end cuts like steaks decreased, while the ground beef price was up nearly 1 percent. The Choice beef cutout struggled last week, losing $4.40 to finish Friday at $252.40. While the national average price on Choice beef breed steers is $19.00/cwt higher than a year ago, the cutout value is running about $65.00 lower.

Estimated harvest for last week was 667,000 head, 63,000 more than the previous holiday shortened week and 17,000 head higher than the same week last year.

Bacon prices fall

The August retail cost of pork was level with the previous month with a composite price of $4.94. The price of bacon decreased while cuts like boneless chops increased. The pork cutout value increased by $3.00 last week, closing Friday at $106.39. October

Lean Hog Futures Contracts were up $3.70 last week, but didn’t carry that momentum into the early week trade. Last week’s estimated harvest was 2.465 million hogs, 222,000 more than Labor Day week and 80,000 less than the same week last year.

China is planning a third release from its pork reserves in an effort to curb imports. Nearly 53,000 metric tons have been taken out of the country’s reserves so far this year.

Will lamb market rebound?

The fed lamb market is attempting its typical fall rebound with the USDA calling prices firm to $2.00 higher last week. While the cutout value dropped again last week to $556.73, retailers in parts of the U.S. aggressively featured lamb in their meat cases.

Loin chops and leg steaks were among the items featured most. The harvest estimate for last week was 34,000 sheep and lambs. That’s 6,000 head higher than the holiday shortened week and 3,000 less the same week last year.

State livestock market roundup

Prices were mixed on most classes of livestock at Wisconsin and surrounding state auction markets. Choice beef breed steers and heifers were mostly steady to $1.00 higher. High-yielding, high-grading cattle brought $122.00 to $146.00/cwt.  There were reports of high Choice and Prime lots selling to $150.00/cwt and above.

Choice Holstein steers were steady to strong at $107.00 to $135.00/cwt. with high grading Holstein steers again bringing $135.00 up to $138.00/cwt with some packages selling higher.  Silage fed, under finished or heavy dairy breed steers brought $75.00 to $107.00/cwt. Dairy x Beef steers were, bringing  $105.00 to $140.00/cwt.

Cows were mixed with good demand on fleshier individuals with a bulk bringing $55.00 to $80.00/cwt with some selling into the 90’s. Doubtful health and thin cows were bringing $55.00/cwt and down.

Dairy breed bull calves were bringing $50.00 to $120.00/cwt with heavier, well cared for calves up to $140.00/cwt. Beef and Beef Cross calves were mostly steady, selling to $370.00/cwt with a few above. Market lambs brought $95.00 to $140.00/cwt with some reports of tops on light lambs to $190.00/cwt.