Beef price increase could be coming

Beef (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – The year 2012 was one of the driest years in recent memory, and even though the drought is over for parts of the sunflower state, the problems are not.

“Because of the drought two years ago, we liquidated cows, so our beef supply today, our number of cows today is the lowest it’s ever been on record,” said Alan Waggoner, Yoder Meats owner.

Without rain, cattle farmers didn’t have the feed or water to keep their herd.

KSN asked what that means for the consumer at the grocery store.

“As a consumer, you’re paying higher prices, that’s the bottom line.”

John Jenkinson, with the AG Network, says because of supply and demand, meat processing plants right now are paying a lot more for cattle that are still in high demand.

Over the last two weeks, those processors have seen a price increase every single day.

“Setting record never-seen-before prices, and so those those prices, eventually, right now are working their way through the system, and those will be in the meat case for consumers in probably the next three to four maybe five weeks,” said Jenkinson.

Jenkinson suggests you find a place with good beef prices but don’t wait around.

“If you’re going to fill your freezer, if you want to take advantage of some great prices, certainly do it immediately.”

Experts say you won’t see a sudden jump in beef prices, but a gradual increase from retailers that don’t want to scare away shoppers from buying beef.

It’s going to take some time for those herds to build back up.

“It will stay high priced, and our number of cows will stay relatively low until they rebuild it will take two or three years to do that,” said Waggoner.

Jenkinson also says that since corn prices have been falling that should help cattle farmers afford more feed to start increasing the size of their herds.

That should eventually cause beef costs to go back down.

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