What’s That Steak Worth

by Staff on September 16, 2014

Rising Beef PricesIt’s a pinch, for sure.  We shouldn’t need to consider a second mortgage in order to buy a beef roast.  But the prices just keep climbing.  According to the U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, we are all experiencing high prices of beef and other meats at the supermarket.  And it’s a direct result of the ongoing drought conditions, especially in the Plains  and Western states where rain has been scarce since 2010.  Herds of cattle were sold off at that time because pasture conditions were too dry to sustain the herds.

After such a prolonged period of dry conditions, even the breeding heifers are gone.   If rains begin it would take years to rebuild the pastures and herds to a level where they were previously.  We are importing more feeder cattle for our herds from neighbors like Canada and Mexico, but they are also withholding from selling to our farmers in order to capitalize on the higher beef prices in our markets …. rather than selling these our farmers to rebuild herds.  In fact some are selling their own herds just to receive the higher prices now.

There is evidence that U.S. consumers are responding to price increases by simply cutting back on their beef purchases… buying less expensive cuts and buying less frequently.  But the export demand remains strong.  If you want more details and recent updates, here’s livestock information and forecasts for 2014-2015 from the USDA…. including import and export details.

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