Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads

Market Update Chart Green


Cutouts generally gained week-to-week with only the round complex showing softness, where the pace of gains was mostly limited. Middle meats were the top performers with a boost from retailers, who wanted to position themselves for the turn of the calendar and some warmer weather. Ribs continued to appreciate and were the best performers of the boxed-beef market. The pace of gain this week was not near last week, given softness in the cattle markets and limited offerings. Strips and short loins were again sought after, starting early in the week. The level of strength that has developed over the last few trading weeks has been somewhat surprising, given that it is earlier than expected. The levels set for ground beef trade seemed to have sparked a balanced market. Activity picked up at the current levels and prices for the most part were steady.

Angus Beef

The Angus Beef market mirrored much of what was going on in the commodity markets. Warmer weather in some areas of the country and the calendar turn to March–and to a degree an early Easter–led to interest in middle meats. Retailers stepped in a little earlier than anticipated, which pushed prices higher. Briskets surged as well and, to a lesser degree, flank and skirt steaks. End cuts for the most part were generally steady. Teres Majors saw some appreciation as a value steak cut that was helped by grilling thoughts. Flats and eye rounds were weaker. Ground beef also continued its sideways channel.


The fresh pork complex continued the pattern of mostly steady trade this week, with bone-in sirloins being the only item in the complex that moved by more than 5 percent. Bone-in loins were steady on the week.

Boneless loins, tenders and spareribs continued to show weakness as buyers awaited opportunities to secure summer needs. Export demand continued to push the butt market higher.


Boneless breasts and front halves were in the spotlight. Buyer interest seemed to align with first-of-the-month sales. Wings have come back into a decent balance. For now, stable ground supported quotations, with processors optimistic that a seasonal leap centered around March Madness would develop. Leg quarters were solid and could be described as steady to full-steady. Tenders weren’t neglected per se but they were in at least adequate supply.