Wholesale beef prices starting the new year strong
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
Wholesale beef markets are starting 2019 with a continuation of generally strong prices seen last year. For the first three weeks of the year, boxed beef cutout prices are up 2.9 percent for Choice and 3.4 percent for Select compared to the same period last year. In 2018, weekly boxed beef prices averaged 2.2 percent higher year over year compared to 2017. Wholesale beef prices were higher in 2018 despite a projected 2.8 percent increase in beef production and larger pork and poultry supplies. For the week ending Jan. 18, 2019, Choice boxed beef prices were $212.36/cwt. and Select boxed beef price was $207.07/cwt.
Middle meats have provided the most support to cutout values in recent months. Current Choice rib primal price is $344.79/cwt., up 9.8 percent year over year. Last year, rib primal prices averaged 6.2 percent higher compared to 2017. Choice loin primal price is currently $280.80/cwt., up 4.7 percent compared to the same week last year. In 2018, Choice loin primal prices averaged 1.5 percent higher year over year.
Currently, chuck primal price is $174.23/cwt., down 2.5 percent from the same week last year. Across all weeks in 2018, chuck primal prices averaged 2.0 percent higher year over year. Choice round primal value is currently $168.40/cwt., down 1.8 percent from the same week last year. In 2018, round primal prices averaged 3.3 percent lower year over year compared to 2017.
The brisket market has been a juggernaut in recent years with strong barbeque demand combining with traditional brisket markets, such as corned beef and pastrami, to push brisket values higher. Current brisket primal price is $190.74/cwt., up 10.4 percent year over year. In 2018, brisket primal values averaged 15.8 percent higher compared to the previous year. Brisket prices have generally trended up over the last decade. In 2009, brisket primal prices averaged 69.2 percent of boxed beef cutout prices. By 2018 brisket primal prices averaged 83.7 percent of boxed beef cutout values.
Beef carcass value is a function of the primal composition of the carcass and the primal values. The rib primal has the highest average primal value, averaging 168.2 percent of cutout value in 2018 and represents about 9 percent of carcass weight. The loin primal represents 16 percent of carcass weight and the loin primal value averaged 133.3 percent of average cutout value in 2018. Over the last decade, rib values have increased relative to cutout value while loin values have decreased as a percent of cutout. Together, middle meats represent about 25 percent of carcass weight.
The chuck primal represents 29 percent of carcass weight and, in 2018, chuck primal values averaged 80.7 percent of the average cutout value. The round primal accounts for 22 percent of carcass weight and round primal prices averaged 78.7 percent of average cutout value in 2018. Chuck values have increased relative to cutout values over the last decade while round values have decreased relative to the cutout value. Together the chuck and round account for roughly 51 percent of total carcass weight. Remaining carcass weight is made up of the brisket, flank, skirt and miscellaneous thin cuts.
Passive immune status within 24 hours of birth and long-term health and performance of calves
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientis
You have heard the warning “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas!!!” Perhaps you have not heard: “What happens in the first 24 hours, impacts the rest of a calf’s life!” Veterinary scientists, while with the USDA experiment station at Clay Center, Nebraska, monitored health events and growth performance in a population of range beef calves in order to identify associations of production factors with baby calf passive immune status.
Blood samples were collected at 24 hours after calving from 263 crossbred calves to determine the amount of passive maternal immunity that had been obtained from colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk produced by a cow upon giving birth. The baby calves were classified with “Inadequate” or “Adequate” Passive Immune status based on that blood sample at 24 hours of age. Growth performance and health events in the study population were monitored from birth to weaning, and after weaning throughout the feedlot phase.
The lowest levels of passive immunity were observed among calves that were sick or died prior to weaning. Calves with “inadequate” passive immunity had a 5.4 times greater risk of death prior to weaning, 6.4 times greater risk of being sick during the first 28 days of life, and 3.2 times greater risk of being sick any time prior to weaning when compared to calves with “adequate” passive transfer.
Based on 24 hour proteins (most of which are antibodies or immunoglobulins) in the blood, the risk of being sick in the feedlot was also three times greater for “Inadequate” compared to “Adequate” calves. Passive immune status was also indirectly associated with growth rates through its effects on calf health. Sickness during the first 28 days of life was associated with a 35 pound lower expected weaning weight. Respiratory disease in the feedlot resulted in a .09 lb lower expected average daily gain.
Thus, passive immunity obtained from colostrum was an important factor determining the health of calves both pre- and post-weaning, and indirectly influenced calf growth rate during the same periods. Therefore, cow-calf producers can help themselves and the future owners of their calves by properly growing replacement heifers, providing a good health program for cows and heifers, and providing natural or commercial colostrum replacers to calves that do not receive it in adequate quantities on their own.
Remember that most of the transfer of antibodies from colostrum to the calf happens in the first 6 hours. The first day sets the stage for the rest of his life. (Source: Wittum and Perino. 1995. American Journal Of Veterinary Research. 56:1149.)