After years of drought, beef prices may rise in the coming months

Nov 15, 2013 by Matt Kelley

While the beef industry is worth more than $12-billion a year to Nebraska's economy, the state's meat lovers could find themselves having to pay more for steak and hamburger this winter.

Livestock economist Lee Schulz says the cattle market is rebounding from years of drought and with lower grain and better forage, the conditions are good for most producers.

"We've seen the cost of production decrease substantially and we're looking at break-even levels and above for ," Schulz says. He says producers will be selling fewer animals to build up their herds to take advantage of the market situation.

"Beef supplies are historically tight, but to build that herd, they're going to become even tighter because we have to retain more of those heifers," Schulz explains. Keeping those animals out of the marketplace means beef will cost more.

He says, "There is quite a bit of uncertainty, but I think we do know that prices are likely to increase in the rather short-to-medium term." Schulz, who's based at Iowa State University, says while consumers may see higher prices, retailers are likely to cushion some of the impact.

Beef is Nebraska's single largest industry. There are 20,000 beef cow operations in Nebraska with nearly two-million head of cows statewide. The state has another 4,600 cattle feeding operations, with more than five-million cattle fed and marketed per year.

Explore further: 22 elephants poached in Mozambique in two weeks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Different forage affects beef cattle weight, taste

Sep 18, 2013

Cattle are what they eat. The forage—grasses and other plants—beef cattle eat affects the nutrition and tastiness of the meat. Clemson University animal science researchers report that steers grazing ...

Can naturally raised beef find its place in the industry?

Oct 18, 2010

As consumer demand for naturally raised beef continues to increase, researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that naturally raised beef can be produced effectively for this niche market as long as a substantial ...

USDA study shows benefits of weaning calves early

Aug 30, 2013

At the beginning of 2013, cattle ranchers in the Northern Plains were among U.S. agricultural producers still feeling the lingering effects of the sweltering 2012 drought, the worst in half a century.

Recommended for you

22 elephants poached in Mozambique in two weeks

2 hours ago

Poachers slaughtered 22 elephants in Mozambique in the first two weeks of September, environmentalists said Monday, warning that killing for ivory by organised syndicates was being carried out on an "industrialised" ...

User comments : 0