The Cattle Range Home Page
November 3, 2017
. .
Slaughter Weight Trends

.
..

. .
Slaughter Weight Trends
CME Group

One of the dominant annual trends in livestock and poultry industries is heavier slaughter weight. Regarding cattle (steers), annual Federally Inspected (FI) carcass (dressed) weight increased over 130 pounds (17%) in the 24-years from 1992-2016. That is an annual average gain of 5.5 pounds (0.7%). In 2017, FI steer carcass weight is projected to drop year-over-year by 13-14 pounds. As we have said in the newsletter before, throughout 2017, the year-over-year declines in fed cattle weight have been caused by the market structure, which has pulled animals through the feedlot phase rather quickly. That is unusual.

On Thursday, the actual weekly data (reported by USDA-AMS and compiled by USDA-NASS from all FI packing plants), was released for the week ending October 21st. The latest report is available here. Based on the data available so far, Octoberís cattle dressed weights for the month will be lower than expected. For the latest week of data, the dressed steer weight was 899-pounds, down 16-pounds from a year ago. Overall, cattle (steer, heifer, cow, and bull) slaughter weight declined 15 pounds compared to 2016ís.

Returning to the longer-term, donít assume the decades-long trend of heavier slaughter weights has ended. However, the rate of growth could moderate. Over the years, economic forces, genetic improvements, and modern management systems have all contributed to bigger carcasses.

. .
. .

 .