America’s cows are as fat as they’ve ever been, which could lead to lower prices for beef lovers.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average weight of a cow sold to beef processors was 630 kilograms in October, an all-time high.
The reason is that feedlot owners, facing a glut of cattle and lower demand for beef by consumers, are keeping the cows longer and allowing them to gorge on cheap feed to gain even more weight.
“It still makes economic sense” to put on as much weight on as efficiently as you can, to minimize losses” feedlot owner Tom Fanning told Bloomberg. He added that despite the extra weight, he still loses $100 to $300 on each animal he sells to slaughterhouses.
Fanning said cows typically spend 150 days at the feedlot before being sold. That is up by 25 days from just two years ago, he said. A cow gains about two kilograms per day, he said.
Cattle futures are down a whopping 22 percent from an all-time high one year ago, reported Farm Journal. A main driver is increasing supply of steers as ranchers recover from the 2012 drought that thinned the herds.
Wholesale beef prices have plummeted by 23 percent as well, and soon, those prices will likely be reflected at the retail level.