Fed cattle lost ground last week, averaging $82 to $83, defying expectations for at least some kind of fall rally. Beef slaughter and beef production were down slightly from the prior week and about on par with one year ago. Choice boxed beef prices averaged $137.25 per hundredweight, down 2 percent from the prior week’s average of $140.48 and 11 percent lower than one year ago when the average was $154.40.

Ground beef also continues to lose ground, with 50 percent lean trimmings last week averaging $45.77, down 7 percent from the previous week and 45 percent lower than the year-ago price of $83.14. The 90 percent lean trimmings meanwhile, averaged $126.33, down about 1 percent from the prior week and almost 20 percent lower than one year ago.

The Texas Cattle Feeders Association notes that members are discussing a number of factors contributing to the lackluster market.

  • Larger showlists in northern markets – TCFA says Nebraska showlists were up by 17,000 head last week.
  • Lower cutout values.
  • Lower cattle futuresLikelihood of another dairy buyout.
  • Reduced harvest rates and a growing backlog of cattle.
  • Large supplies of competing meats.

TCFA says, though, that two factors probably account for most of the continued pressure on cattle prices: outstanding performance of feedyard cattle through the summer and the overall economy’s effect on beef demand.