Beef cutout in freefall, harvest rates ramp up
Some degree of normalcy is returning to the meat complex with wholesale prices dropping sharply and harvest rates returning to near normal. But it will still be several weeks at least before those changes are reflected in retail prices.
The choice beef cutout on Friday, June 5, settled at $261.48 per cwt, a 28% decline in just one week and 45% lower from the peak on
May 12. While the popular press is still running stories about COVID cases in meat packing plants and limited meat supplies, the reality is that most packing plants have quickly recovered from the virus shock of a few weeks ago, according to the Daily Livestock Report.
Last week, cattle slaughter was estimated at 636,000 head, the highest since the last week of March and only 4.3% lower than a year ago. Fed cattle slaughter last week was likely over 500,000 head and only 5% lower than last year. The weight of steers and heifers coming through is likely 4‐5% higher, so net fed beef supplies for the week were similar to a year ago.
Click or tap here for a rundown of current wholesale and retail market conditions.