Aug. 5, 2019
Beef product seasonality
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
Most agricultural markets exhibit regular patterns of prices through the year, known as seasonal patterns. Price seasonality reflects the net effect of seasonal tendencies in both supply and demand. In the cattle and beef industry, widely varying seasonal price patterns exist for all classes of cattle as well as for each of the many beef products produced in the industry. Some seasonal patterns have shifted in recent years with evolving exports markets, etc. The following discussion is based on average seasonal price indexes for Choice beef primals and wholesale products over the past three years (2016-2018).
The boxed beef cutout value represents the net aggregation of the primary muscle cuts of the beef carcass. Boxed beef cutout values typically vary by about 13 percent, from a seasonal high in May about seven percent above average to a seasonal low in October about six percent below average. The boxed beef cutout includes values for four major primals; rib, loin, chuck and round, as well as brisket, short plate and flank. Each of the four major primals has distinct seasonal price patterns that are the net effect of various beef products that are derived from the primal.
The rib primal is the highest value primal on average and consists primarily of the ribeye in various fabrication specifications (boneless versus bone-in, etc). For example, the boneless ribeye (IMPS* 112A) has a seasonal pattern that includes a lower peak in May at 11 percent above average and the highest peak in November, 13 percent above average, with a seasonal low in January of ten percent below average. Ribeye prices thus tend to vary about 23 percent from high to low during the year. The rib primal in total varies by 14 percent from a June peak nearly eight percent above average to a January low about six percent below average.
The loin primal is more complicated with several products originating in the loin primal, each of which has different seasonal price patterns. The loin primal overall has a seasonal price range of 26 percent varying from a seasonal high in May and June 14 percent above average to an October low about 13 percent below average. The tenderloin (189A) is the highest value beef wholesale product with a seasonal pattern that varies by 18 percent from a seasonal peak 12 percent above average in November to a seasonal low about seven percent below average in September. This pattern contrasts sharply with the strip loin (175) which has a very wide seasonal price range averaging 57 percent from a May/June peak about 36 percent above average to a November low about 21 percent below average. Sirloin products such as the bottom sirloin flap (185A) and tri-tip (185D) have seasonal patterns generally similar to strip loins.
End primals (chuck and round) generally have very different seasonal patterns to middle meats with less seasonal variation compared to rib and loin primals. The round primal varies by nine percent from a peak in January six percent above average to lows two to three percent below average from July through December. The round includes numerous products, such as inside round (169) that peaks in March about seven percent above average with a seasonal low in September about seven percent below average. Outside round (171B), however, has a seasonal peak in January 14 percent about average with a minor peak again in October and a seasonal low in April eight percent below average.
The chuck includes a broad set of products that vary widely in value and seasonal patterns. For example, the top blade (114D), source of Flat Iron steaks, ranges from a seasonal high seven percent above average in May to a February low six percent below average. The clod (petite) tender (114F) ranges from 38 percent above average in April to 20 percent below average in September/October. The chuck roll (116B) ranges from ten percent above average in October to a low seven percent below average in July. The overall chuck primal varies only seven percent from a January peak four percent above average to two percent below average from July to December.
The beef values that cattle producers ultimately see as determinants of cattle prices are the result of a diverse set of beef products with widely ranging values and seasonal patterns. Many beef product values vary sharply at various times of the year as a result of seasonal demand and supply influences.
*Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS)
Proper vaccine storage is critical to disease protection
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
Each year cow calf producers spend thousands of dollars for vaccine products to immunize calves, replacement heifers, and adult cows and bulls. A vaccine can cost over $3.00 a head, and if not stored properly that vaccine can be rendered in effective. Producers cannot afford to overlook the importance of how they store vaccine and handle it prior to injection.
Most biological products should be stored under refrigeration at 35 to 45⁰F unless the nature of the product makes storing at a different temperature advisable (APHIS 2007). Read the insert or box label carefully to discover the recommended storage temperature. If vaccines are not stored within this temperature range, efficacy to the calf can and will be reduced. Killed vaccines are especially susceptible to freezing temperatures. Freezing a killed vaccine will alter the adjuvant or delivery system of a killed vaccine. This, in turn, negatively affects the immune response to the antigen in the vaccine. Modified live viruses (MLV) are more stable but can be in-activated if they are repeatedly cycled above or below the required temperature range (Gunn et al, 2013). Also, once activated by mixing, MLV’s effective life will be reduced to 1-2 hours and need to be maintained at the 35⁰ to 45⁰ F. This can be accomplished by only mixing the doses that you will use at that time and use a cooler to maintain temperature while working cattle.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas and Idaho analyzed the consistency of temperatures for different types, ages and locations of refrigerators over a 48 hour period. They found that only 26.7% and 34.0% of refrigerators were within the acceptable temperature limit 95% of the time, respectfully. Refrigerator location can also effect temperature. Refrigerators located in barns (35.6 ⁰F) were colder than in mud rooms (41.72 ⁰F) and kitchens (40.82⁰F). (Troxel and Barham 2009). Temperature within a 24 hour period can also be highly variable for individual refrigerators. Troxel and Barham (2009) demonstrated some refrigerators may take up to 8 hours to cool down to the 45⁰F, while others will remain too cold varying from 24.8⁰F to 35.6⁰F.
Producers need to be aware of these variations in temperature so they are able to adjust refrigerator temperature as needed. Thermostats can also be very variable from unit to unit, so keeping a thermometer inside works well to monitor and to make adjustments as need. Simple indoor-outdoor thermometers work well to achieve this goal. The outdoor unit can be placed in the refrigerator while the LCD display can be hung with a magnet on the door. This allows temperature to be monitored without opening the door and many models will record the high and the low temperature in a 24 hour period so producers can adjust accordingly. Very inexpensive digital thermometers can be purchased and placed in the refrigerator that will allow the producer to check the refrigerator on those extremely cold nights or very hot days to make certain that the unit is within the desired range. (Source: Can storage of vaccine affect its efficacy?, Mourer, Oct. 30, 2017 Cow Calf Corner Newsletter).