Beef pricing worksheet for producers considering direct marketing

A new tool is available to beef producers when pricing beef carcasses for consumers.

Have you ever been asked by one of your customers how much a freezer full of beef will cost? Do you struggle to convert the live animal value to a carcass based price? Michigan State University Extension and the University of Wisconsin Extension have teamed up to develop a new worksheet to answer these questions. Beef prices are record high but consumers have maintained demand for beef.

The Freezer Beef Pricing Worksheet is available to assist beef producers in determining the price of direct marketed beef. This tool also has a video available to give producers additional information in using the worksheet. Although examples are given for current market conditions in September 2014, producers are encouraged to enter actual costs and information based off of their own operation into the worksheet.

Example pricing uses the August, 2014 overall retail Choice beef price of $6.24 per pound. If a carcass price of $2.80 per pound is used, this would create a 23 percent savings for consumers compared to purchasing the beef at retail stores. Monthly average price values reported by the USDA Economic Research Service can be used to create figures to share with customers for overall savings value when purchasing beef by the whole, half or quarter.

Important considerations when using the worksheet include understanding the type of beef animal being processed (steer vs. heifer and beef breed or dairy breed). These differences influence the dressing percentage and estimated yield grade of the animal. Accurate figures or estimates entered into the worksheet result in more accurate results for overall yield and cost per pound of beef in the freezer. If producers have any historical data from their own animals and previous sales or processing, use those values to customize the worksheet for your own operation.

Additional resources in direct marketing beef are available from Michigan State University Extension beef program. 

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