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This research examined variability in grid prices that can occur within a given day or week for a given set of cattle. Data for one day's slaughter from four plants revealed considerable variation in cattle brought to slaughter by cattle feeders. Several sources of variation were found. Base prices varied $2/dressed cwt., or $15/head, whether using plant averages or formulas tied to reported cash-market prices. Prices across grids added another $2-4/cwt. of variation, another $15 to 30/head. Variation in carcass characteristics contributed significantly to the variation in grid pricing, especially discounted characteristics such as Select and Standard carcasses, Yield Grade 4-5 carcasses, light and heavy carcasses, and non-conforming or "out" carcasses.


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