BUFFALO, Okla., Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Bigger cattle, on their way to market, could lower the cost of beef across the United States and Canada.
Cattle futures have fallen 23 percent from one year ago, and producers, losing money on every animal going to slaughtering plants, are choosing to grow each animal larger than usual.
Tom Fanning, who manages Buffalo Feeders LLC in Buffalo, Okla., told Bloomberg his cattle eat grain for 150 days, 25 days more than normal, before they are sold, packing on about four pounds per day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the average animal currently weighs 1,390 pounds when sold to beef processors, an all-time high. Some weigh as much as 2,000 pounds after being held back from the slaughterhouse an extra 30 to 60 days.
"It still makes economic sense to put on as many pounds as efficiently as you can" to minimize losses, Fanning said.
The result will soon be more pounds of beef available in stores, and a wholesale price drop consumers will notice. Wholesale beef prices have already fallen 23 percent from their record price in May, and closed earlier this week at $2.0279 per pound, a 22-month low.
Windsor, Ontario, butcher Jeffrey Farron, noting the fall in beef prices, told CBC News last week, "If you bought a roast around three pounds, usually it would be about $22, $23 (Canadian). You might save, typically a couple of dollars, or if it's put on sale, you might save even more."