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DLR: Annual jump in rib, loin primal boosts Choice beef cutout for 2018

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Higher prices for steak cuts lead the push upward for the Choice beef cutout, which sat at eight dollars higher than year-ago levels in early December, and the Daily Livestock Report (DLR) says year-over-year increases are present across the beef carcass. 

“Looking at the performance of the various primals, the rib primal was $404.46 per hundredweight on Nov. 5, up $27.50 per hundredweight from a year ago and one of the biggest year-over-year increases in terms of total dollars,” says DLR. “The brisket primal was also up around $27 compared to last year, but the value of the brisket primal was $182.99, so it has increased more in percentage terms, jumping by 17 percent, than the rib primal, which is up seven percent.” 

With the brisket providing five percent of the overall carcass value and the rib primal 11 percent, DLR notes that rib primal improvement signals a better impact on the overall product. 

They also note that loin primals are up $10 per hundredweight from 2017, which brings an additional two dollars to the overall cutout price. 

“Of the eight-dollar gain in the value of the choice cutout, a little over five dollars came from the gain in the rib and loin, and another $1.40 came from the brisket,” DLR reports.

End cuts, including chucks and rounds, however, haven’t made much contribution to increasing prices, since strong competition at the retail level, seasonally weaker pricing and demand for ground beef negatively impacted the cuts. 

“Since Sept. 1, the Choice beef cutout has averaged $207.40 per hundredweight, about $10, or five percent, higher than a year ago,” DLR explains.


However, seasonality strongly affects the pricing of beef ribs, which see a boost around a handful of key holidays, including Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. 

“In the last three years, the rib primal has increased sharply going into Christmas,” says DLR, “and this year, price increases have been more significant and happened earlier than in the previous two years.”

They continue, “While it is fair to expect the rib primal to decline once Christmas orders have been filled, the timing and the magnitude of the decline has tends to vary.”

As they analyze data about the number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to peak prices for rib primals, DLR says a wider gap provides more time for retailers to accumulate product,

“Normally, we would expect the peak in the price of ribs to be later than when there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” DLR comments. “However, more recently this has not been the case.”

With more end users putting product in cold storage to anticipate their needs during the holiday season, DLR says a shift has been seen since 2013.

“Indeed, since 2013, the peak in the rib market has been around 11 to 12 days after Thanksgiving,” they explain. “If that holds again this year, it would put the peak of the rib market sometime around Dec. 3 or Dec. 4.”

And while seasonal quality in loin primal is not as pronounced as in ribs, DLR cautions, “It is a critical component considering that it accounts for over 20 percent of the overall carcass.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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