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Beef byproduct values surge higher

Contributed by Derrell S. Peel Published on 17 September 2021

Byproduct values for cattle have increased dramatically in the past few months. Hide and offal values, which have generally declined in recent years, bottomed during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 to the lowest levels since 2009.

In the past 13 months, steer hide and offal values have risen from $6.93 per hundredweight (cwt) on a live fed steer basis in July 2020 to an August 2021 value of $14.99, an increase of 116%. The current byproduct value is the highest since January of 2015. Figure 1 shows the monthly average steer hide and offal values for the past decade.

beef hide and offal values

The sharp jump in byproduct values is due to increases in hide values along with several other products included in the byproduct totals. The largest component of byproduct values is the hides. The August steer hide values are up 115% year over year. In recent years, hides have dropped from roughly half of total byproduct values to about 30% of the total. Despite the doubling of hide values in the past year, hides still only represent 31.7% of current byproduct value. This is because numerous other byproduct values have likewise increased sharply in the past year.

Edible and inedible tallow values are also up sharply in recent months. Inedible tallow values are up 177% year over year, while edible tallow values have increased 85%. Edible and inedible tallow combined represent 25.4% of August total byproduct values. Tongue prices are up 111% year over year in August and account for 19.5% of total byproduct values. Livers (1.2% of the total value), heart (1.4%), cheeks (3.7%), tripe (4.1%) and meat scraps (4.2%) combine to account for an additional 14.6% of total August byproduct value. Cheek, meat scrap and tripe values are all up 30% to 90% since last year. Finally, a number of minor items adds another 9.3% to total byproduct values. 

The majority of hides and offals are exported. Over the past decade, exports of hides, variety meat and tallow have added an average of $2.42 billion to total beef industry exports. In 2020, the value of hide, variety meat and tallow exports was $1.7 billion.  end mark

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 13, 2021, OSU Cow/Calf Corner newsletter.

Derrell S. Peel
  • Derrell S. Peel

  • Livestock Marketing Specialist
  • Oklahoma State University Extension

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