Retail meat prices posted new records in September, according to an analysis from the Livestock Marketing Information Center.
Beef, pork and broiler prices all set new records.
The all-fresh retail beef price hit $7.40 per pound, up 17.8% from a year ago. The previous record was set in June 2020.
Retail pork prices reached $4.72 per pound in September, up 16.4% from a year ago. The LMIC says pork prices have broken records for the past six consecutive months.’
The broiler composite index was $2.16 per pound, up 8% from 2020.
Additionally, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 5.4% from a year ago, with the meat index increasing by 12.6% from September 2020.
“The September CPI and retail prices data also provide the information needed to calculate third quarter demand indexes. Livestock Marketing Information Center demand indexes use a base year of 2000,” they said. “Demand indexes, although not exact, do give an indication as to relative changes. Given the record levels for beef, pork and broiler prices, the third quarter demand indexes showed a slight pull back from the second quarter and a year ago.
“During the second quarter, demand indexes showed strength in beef and pork. Rising wholesale prices over the summer months started to dampen consumer enthusiasm at the retail level. The third quarter all-fresh beef demand index fell from 124 last year to 121 this year, but 2021 was the second highest level behind 2020.”
After posting decreases since 2017 and dropping by 6% since that year, cattle on feed in western Canada jumped based on numbers on Oct. 1.
The LMIC says according to data from Canada, the monthly Canadian on-feed count stood at 930,000 head, increasing 17% year-over-year (up about 137,000 head). The number of cattle placed into feedlots was down compared to a year ago during September (declining about 6% or 12,000 animals).
The higher Oct. 1 feedlot count was due to more animals placed earlier this year, especially during June, July and August, which were above a year ago by 34%, 98% and 62%, respectively.
“Ranchers in Western Canada have been plagued with severe drought, just like in the Western U.S.,” the LMIC says “Yearling steers and heifers (those born in 2020) were forced into feedlots due to dismal forage conditions. Drought in the western U.S. combined with the economics of feeding cattle set up Canadian buyers to be relatively aggressive in the U.S. feeder cattle market, too.”