Thinning beef herds likely to mean higher prices
The situation could worsen if dry weather persists and continues to leave grazing lands parched.
The nation’s cattle herd is already at its smallest in at least four decades, according to published reports. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that the number of cattle and calves in the United States totaled 97.8 million head as of July 1. That’s 2 percent less than a year ago.
“You just can’t expand when you don’t have the feed resources,” explained Kevin Good, senior market analyst for Centennial-based CattleFax, a beef industry analysis firm.
Expanding a herd can take three to four years from breeding to the time the meat is on consumers’ tables, Good said.
Good expects beef prices to rise at least as much as overall food cost inflation estimates. Food prices could increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent this year and inflation
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