Cattle prices were record high this year. Based on preliminary data, slaughter steers averaged $114.85/cwt of live weight. That is $19.54 above the old record set just last year. At Oklahoma City, 750-800 pound feeder steers averaged roughly $133.57/cwt, which is $24.51 higher than in 2010 and $22.63 above the annual record set in 2005. For 500-550 pound feeder steers, this year’s average at Oklahoma City was about $149.60/cwt, up $24.27 from 2010 and $17.41 above the 2005 record.

The 2011 calf crop was smaller than the yearbefore for the 16th consecutive year. The outlook is for fewer cattle and more record prices in 2012. USDA is forecasting a 4.6% drop in beef production leading to fed cattle prices averaging above $120/cwt.