New record-high prices were recorded last week as cash fed cattle traded $4 to $6 per hundredweight higher. Southern feedyards sold cattle at $128 to $129, with tops in Texas at $129.50. Northern feedyards traded at $128 to $129 live and $202 to $203 dressed. Such prices take the value of a finished steer to nearly $1,700 per head.
Higher cattle prices last week were fueled by rising futures prices and advancing boxed beef prices. Choice boxed beef cutout values were quoted Friday at $190.45, and advance of $3.80 from the previous week. Select values were $185.90, an increase of $4.02 from the Friday before. The Choice/Select spread was $4.56, narrowing 21 cents from the prior week.
Higher cattle and beef prices are pushing retail prices higher, and January saw new record levels. The USDA All Fresh retail beef price was $4.64 per pound, up 9 cents from December and 39 cents higher than one year ago. The USDA Choice retail beef price was $5.09 per pound in January. That compares with USDA’s retail pork price of $3.50 per pound in January and the broiler price of $1.86 per pound in January.