Beef Brief – Week of Aug. 11

Posted August 16, 2023

Fed cattle prices in the South traded lightly at $180, with Northern trade at $188. In the front three months, live cattle futures closed the week from $0.53 to $1.60 lower.

The national average price for feeder steers was $248.52 ,which is $1.09 higher with trade mostly $3 lower to $5 higher. Feeder cattle futures closed the week from $1.52 to $2.55 higher.

The Choice cutout for boxed beef was $0.82 higher at $302.61. The select cutout was $0.75 higher at $277.23. The Choice/Select spread was $25.38, which was $0.24 lower.

Along with cattle prices, the Daily Livestock Report released Friday contained interesting retail price data. Food prices at the retail and foodservice level have started to even off, with suppliers paying less for raw materials. Freight costs are coming down, but consumers are not seeing the prices at the grocery store coming down. Compared to last year' prices, food consumed at home was up 3.6% in July, while prices for food consumed away from home were up 7.1%. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, consumers are paying 25% more for food at the grocery store and 23% more for food at the foodservice level. Much of the reason for this continual increase is worker pay and lack of retention among these entities. As mentioned last week, the packers are getting less for their product, but paying more for cattle to process, so there is still some market unbalance, and it is unknown when that shift will start to adjust.