Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, July 15, 2000, Image 34

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    A34-Uncaster Farming, Saturday, July 15, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio Premi
ums for Choice beef carcasses
have almost doubled nationwide
because fewer cattle are grading
Choice in the Great Plains, said
Brian Roe, Ohio State Univer
sity Extension livestock econom
ics specialist.
Premiums for Choice car
casses have hit $10.50 to $ll
above Select - well above the $5
to $7 per hundred pounds aver
age premium of the past three
years. While this has not had a
large effect on the price con
sumers pay for beef, it is good
news for the East and eastern
Corn Belt, where beef operations
are typically smaller and focus
more on quality as a market ad
vantage, Roe said.
“With 1,200- to 1,300-pound
animals taken to market, pro
ducers could earn $6O to $7O
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Eastern Beef Producers Get
Extra Bonus From Choice Cattle
more per animal this year than
previous years, if they get it to
Choice,” he said. “For Ohio and
other Eastern states, that’s an
additional marketing opportu
nity that’s typically not there. So
while it usually takes a little
more time and money to get an
animal to grade Choice, this
year it probably pays to take
those extra steps.”
Typical beef prices for Select
cattle are in the mid-$6O to $7O
range per hundred pounds, so
adding the $10.50 to $ll prem
ium for Choice would increase a
producer’s earnings by about IS
percent, Roe said.
Over the past three years,
about 61 percent of beef car
casses in the East and eastern
Corn Belt have gotten a Choice
quality grade. In the northern
Great Plains, 55 percent of car
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casses have graded Choice, and
in Texas and Oklahoma only
about 45 percent usually grade
But from the beginning of
April through mid-June of this
year, 3.3 percent fewer cattle
have been grading Choice in the
Great Plains, where most of the
nation’s beef oroduced. A late
spring heat v /e in the Great
Plains likely n ade it very diffi
cult for animals in that area to
reach Choice status. This is a
classic case where a regional
weather disturbance in one part
of the country benefits another
region, Roe said.
While the East and Southeast,
including Ohio, have actually
delivered 2.3 percent more
Choice carcasses than the tliree
year average from April through
mid-June this year, U.S. totals
were still down about 2 percent,
or about 21,000 carcasses, for
the 10-week period.
“The region with Kansas is so
big, it dominates the national
statistics,” Roe said. “In terms
of beef production, as that
region goes, so go the national
In addition to fewer supplies,
an increased demand for higher
quality cuts of meat from restau
rants and other retail food
outlets also is contributing to the
increased Choice premiums, he
“If consumer demand contin
ues to be focused on higher qual
ity cuts, and premiums continue
to remain high, one wonders
how long it will be before pro
ducers in the Plains become
highly quality conscious and try
to compete with the East on
quality,” Roe said. “If they do
successfully implement quality
improvements, it may remove
one of the East’s competitive ad