Holiday Beef Demand Seen In Primal Cut Pricing

Retailer demand for holiday beef cuts is showing up in rising prices for choice primal ribs, with demand for other choice-graded products in tow.

The USDA Thursday reported its price for the choice rib primal, from which those juicy rib roasts are cut, at $359.58 per cwt, a one-day gain of $9.33, or 2.66%, from $350.25.  Last Friday, this primal was quoted at $332.22, bringing the 5-day price rise to $27.36, or 8.24%,

Charting the USDA wholesale prices for rib primal shows what a jump prices have made over the last month.

Accordingly, the choice boxed beef price from the USDA rose this week to $221.31 per cwt on Thursday from $217.04, a gain of $4.27, or 1.97%, from $217.04 on Friday.




Other cuts also have made a splash in wholesale beef markets this week.  Choice chucks rose $3.25, or 1.78%, to $185.68 per cwt on Thursday from $182.43 last Friday.

According to the Web Site About Food, the chuck primal is a very large cut that comes mainly from the shoulder of the animal.  It includes parts of the neck, ribs and the upper arm.

Chuck roasts and some steak items are cut from the chuck primal, but as much as 60% to 70% is ground.  This accounts for its lower wholesale price when compared with the rib primal and its current price strength.  When compared with the rib, the meat is tougher and can be fattier, which can be a consumer turn-off.  But it can also be very flavorful.

Chuck roasts are popular for day-to-day consumption because they can feed a family for more than one meal, extending the food budget.

The primal round also is a large beef cut that is cut up into various roasts or is ground.  These cuts also are popular with families because they are relatively cheap and can feed the tribe for more than one meal, often competing for space on the dinner plate.

Wholesale prices for round primal this week declined $1.64 per cwt, or 0.84%, to $192.65 on Thursday from $194.29 the previous Friday.

Neither chucks nor rounds are considered holiday cuts of beef, but because they are versatile, demand remains somewhat constant throughout the year.

The loin primal also is somewhat popular around holidays since it’s all about steaks.  Surf-and-turf specials surround this primal.  Thursday, the loin was quoted at $290.75 per cwt, up $2.31, or 0.80%, from $288.44 last Friday.




Cash fed cattle markets in the Plains Thursday were quiet, since much of the week’s trading was thought to be done by Wednesday following steady-to-firm trade on Tuesday.  Trades at $138 per cwt were reported, steady with the bulk of last week’s trade.

Light dressed-basis trade was reported at $206 to mostly $208.

Wholesale beef prices Thursday were mixed, with the USDA choice cutout value at $220.93 per cwt, up $0.79 on the day, and its select cutout at $211.55, down $0.65.

The choice/select spread widened to $9.38, and there were 85 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $192.94 per cwt, down $0.91.  This compares with the Oct settlement Thursday of $193.50, up $0.90, and the Nov settlement of $191.92, down $0.32.