Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads



Beef processors were able to move carcass cutouts higher this week. Solid efforts put in a few weeks ago with selling forward time slots proved successful for the packer, lending to very manageable spot market inventory positions this week. Daily load counts were not impressive throughout the week, but given the forward bookings, sellers were able to move prices higher.


As the summer wears on and as outdoor temperatures and humidity build, beef markets are now struggling to find a balance with demand and supply.

While Angus ribs posted decent spot market value gains over the past week, end cuts and the loin complex devalued. Ball tips stood out as a positive cut for the Angus beef processor.

Angus coarse ground beef sales once again deviated only slightly on a week/over/week basis. Looking at the current grading reports, the latest government report has 72% of the animals enteringthe processing mix fit into the Choice category; this week last year 70.08% was the Choice grading percentage.


The loin primal remained a straggler when looking at an increasing value of the total carcass. Strips and short loins, as well as choice top butts, realized some spot market price breaks.


The market for ribs found strong support this past week, leading to increasing values for all grades of ribs.


The spot market remains quiet on all ends as demand is no better than fair. With that said, there have been far fewer adjustments to our listed quotations this week than in recent memory. Breast meat however, is still trending higher, despite there being so many buyers who are sitting on their hands. Processors and further processors continue to absorb all the available supplies at firm values.

Whole birds are about steady at best; WOGs appear to have stabilized, but sellers are struggling to push prices higher. Tenders and wings are well supported. Whole legs, bone-in thighs, leg meat and thigh meat are steady to full steady.

Offerings are no more than adequate at most points of sale. Leg quarters have settled out for the time being, but drumsticks are still testing.


Cash hog prices overall are expected to be mostly steady despite some weaker bids. USDA’s national weighted average price Thursday afternoon was up 30 cents,which broke a string of 26 consecutive days lower in which the daily declines averaged 64 cents per cwt. Overall, since hitting a summer peak on June 23, cash prices had fallen by 25% through Wednesday.

Thursday’s National Daily Direct Hogs: 

Carcass Basis: $55.00 – $64.75
Weighted Average: $61.48
Five-Day Rolling Average: $61.73

Live Price Range: $41.00 – $48.25
Weighted Average: $47.01
Five-Day Rolling Average: $47.87

In the green meat market, hams are called fully steady as they rebound from the recent lows. Bellies maintain barely steady to weak undertones going into the weekend.

In trim, fresh 42s are anticipated to be fully steady today while 72s and boneless picnics are offered and barely steady to weak as a result. The loin and sparerib markets have taken-on a steadier tone in recent sessions,however, market participants remain guarded. The rate of production is expected to continue to increase, a fact that will continue to challenge the market. Meanwhile, butts values are expected to decline.