Beef prices rise as summer grilling season starts

Tobie Blanchard, Pruitt, J. Ross  |  5/21/2013 1:28:44 AM

News Release Distributed 05/20/13

BATON ROUGE, La. – Wholesale beef prices are at historically high levels. This may affect summer cookouts as consumers can expect to see higher prices at the grocery store. LSU AgCenter livestock economist Ross Pruitt said drought in the Midwest in 2012 led to a shortage of hay and higher corn prices. This in turn is affecting beef prices.

“With those tight stocks we’ve seen from a hay perspective and also the feed grain side of things, it’s really cost a lot more than producers may want to winter those animals, so it’s really eaten into their bottom lines,” Pruitt said.

Not every cut of beef will be affected equally, Pruitt said. Better cuts will likely see larger price increases.

While consumers are feeling the pinch, producers won’t be enjoying high profits.

“Just because cattle prices are up, that doesn’t necessarily mean returns to the individual producer are up,” Pruitt said. “They faced high hay prices, grain prices, and fuel and fertilizer prices over the past few years.”

Louisiana cattle producers raise calves to send to feedlots. Pruitt said producers here haven’t seen some of the challenges producers in other states have faced.

“Louisiana producers are in a pretty good situation right now – good pasture conditions, good moisture,” he said. “We haven’t needed hay the way some other states have.”

High beef prices don’t need to threaten your summer barbecue. Pruitt said chicken production is up, and prices are more stable.

The last time beef prices were this high was in 2003 following an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also called mad cow disease, in Canada.

Tobie Blanchard

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