The May 20th, 2020 USDA retail beef value was reported at $7.58 per pound, up $1.41 per pound from a year ago. Live cattle slaughter weights were reported at 1,370 pounds. Retail beef yield from a 1,370 pound steer or heifer will be around 575 pounds (42% of live weight). $7.58 per pound x 575 pounds retail weight = $4,358 per head retail value. Live cattle sales were reported at $1.02/cwt. A 1,370 pound live animal x $1.02 = $1,397 per head or 32% of the price consumers are paying at their retail grocery store. This low producer share of the consumer beef dollar is unprecedented and is around half of the amount producers received in 1970 when big meatpacker concentration was 25% and the markets were competitive. So much for efficiency and economies of scale!
The calculation doesn’t include the meatpackers $99.32 per head drop credit, or the freight cost to the slaughterhouse for the cattle, normally paid by the cattle feeder.
Those stubborn cattlemen that have refused to give their cattle to the big meatpackers as captive supplies are being hurt the most as they continue to feed their now grossly overweight cattle with no kill date in sight. Sonny Perdue and USDA continue to ignore the problem and Congress is failing to act.