The pace at which cutout values decelerated this week, but negative pressure remained in place. Cutout values had moved to levels last seen in the middle weeks of February of this year. While middle meats sustained a weak tone, end cuts found a bit of support from both retail buyers looking for product, and ground beef processors utilizing whole muscle cuts given attractive wholesale values. USDA released its monthly Cattle On Feed report. ON FEED was up 4 percent from the same period in 2016.
Placements reported at 3 percent higher year-overyear. Marketing showed a 4 percent increase for the reported time period.
Rib primal values slipped lower, as demand for near term features fell short of clearing spot supply. Choice Rib Primal value fell $5.67/cwt, or 1.79%
Loins remained the weakest performing primal for the beef processor. Strips and top butts saw additional discounting, as did tenderloins and thin meats from the loin section.
Ground beef wholesale values improved this week as last-minute demand for the upcoming Labor Day holiday. Most of the improvement was seen with fatter percentage ground beef offerings.
Some bright spots have surfaced with both commodity and branded beef programs, although the overall tone to the market remains barely steady/easy. Clods, chuck rolls and some ground beef formulations have improved wholesale values associated with spot shipment.
Ribs, loins and rounds over the past week impacted cutouts negatively. Choice grading of market-ready cattle remains at levels well above seasonal trendlines.
The market for fresh pork products showed little in the way of direction this week; with most items trading in fairly narrow bands. Once again, the loin component was modestly weaker over the course of the week as the market remained rather well supplied with availability from most points of sale, and demand just average. Meanwhile, ranges opened-up on both butts and spareribs as offerings expanded closer to Labor Day. Butts, as well as the picnic and cushion meat markets, were mixed. Rib products ranged steady to weaker as the demand for fresh product ahead of Labor Day waned.
This week in the chicken market, supply and demand were generally balanced across most listed lines. Despite the overall level of activity being somewhat uneventful, breast meat traded at market related values. Whole birds and WOGs settled out.
Medium and jumbo-sized wings continued to move at full market levels. Bonein dark meat has slowed down some, but the undertone hasn’t softened enough to adjust our quotations, just yet. Drumsticks are an exception here as they continue to command full market if not better values. Thigh meat and leg meat continue to trade at supported levels. Tenders and small wings are the only items that have tested lower; whole breasts have also become plentiful at select plants.