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% from the week before and up 6.7% 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.