Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is featuring comments from Kansas State University Extension Livestock Market Economist, Dr. Glynn Tonsor, talking about why cash cattle prices have been moving stronger over the last couple of months.
One of the contributing factors, Tonsor said, is the pullback on corn, but the biggest driver of those prices is the tightening cattle supply.
“I think there is a lot of chasing of what is expected to be less available beef pounds,” Tonsor said.
Wholesale boxed beef prices, Tonsor added, have been trending up in recent days and are up compared to the start of the year. Compared to January 3rd of this year, Tonsor said the total composite is up around four dollars.
“The rib category is down 15 percent, and all the other categories are flat or up,” Tonsor said. “Highlighting that because I think the rib has been under stress. Hopefully, some seasonal return to growing and so forth will help with that.”
Loin, brisket, and short plate are up, Tonsor said, and chuck and round are basically flat.
“There is a mixed bag across all those different primal-based cutout numbers on a mix of food service export and domestic,” Tonsor said. “Remember, these are all wholesale values that blend all three.”
Foot traffic at restaurants has been down, Tonsor said, but for the past six months, people have been tightening their financial belt due to inflation. There is also some seasonality to spending money at restaurants, Tonsor said, as individuals tend to spend more around the Christmas holiday and less in the months following.
Tonsor also gave an update on the latest March Meat Demand Monitor, a beef and pork checkoff-funded survey-based project at Kansas State University.
“Retail demand, so grocery store for at-home consumption, was a mixed bag,” Tonsor said. “So, ribeye steak, ground beef, bacon, and chicken breast were down in demand- March versus February.”
Tonsor said all other categories were down compared to March of 2022.
“I have been seeing that year-over-year decline for several months now,” Tonsor said.
Food service demand, on the other hand, Tonsor said, was up in March compared to February.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.