The average weekly steer carcass weight for the five-state fed cattle marketing area recently exceeded 900 lbs. for the first time ever, according to Utah State University Economics Professor Dillon Feuz. He said average carcass weights have increased about 10 lbs. per year since 2001.

Fed steer carcass weights averaged 803 lbs. in 2001, 835 lbs. in 2005 and 859 lbs. last year. This year, Feuz said the annual average may exceed 880 lbs.

Feuz suggested costs of gain averaging less than fed cattle prices has encouraged increasing carcass weights since the 1970s. The nation’s cowherd size peaked 30 years ago, but the industry has continued to produce more total pounds of domestic beef from fewer units.

“That added weight has not been free,” he said. “Market prices for fed cattle are lower because of heavier weights.”

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