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Thursday, March 23, 2023


Hamburger Prices Might Continue To Rise As US Cattle Herd Shrinks

Consumers grappling with elevated food inflation might be in for another surprise: A shrinking US cattle herd indicates tight livestock supplies for years. 

A decline in cattle herds and high production expenses will translate into higher beef prices at the grocery store. We documented this trend last fall (read: “Dwindling US Cattle Herd Implies Supermarket Beef Prices May Rise Even More). 

Bloomberg explained the reason for the drop: 

Years-long drought in the US Plains has withered pastures and squeezed supplies of feeds including hay and corn. The result: ranchers have liquidated some animals to cut costs, depressing breeding.

The latest figures from the US Department of Agriculture cattle-inventory report on Tuesday showed 89.3 million cattle as of Jan. 1, down 3% from a year ago. The decline wasn’t unexpected and was in line with a Bloomberg survey. 

However, a much more significant decline in beef production could be nearing. If not this year, perhaps between 2024-26. 

“With fewer cattle supplies becoming available, beef production is expected to undergo a sizable decline over the next few years,” said Courtney Shum, a livestock-market reporter at Urner Barry, an industry publication.

What’s alarming is the shrinking herd of beef replacement cows has fallen to 1962 levels. 

Don Roose, founder of US Commodities, a grain and livestock investment and management firm, warned:

“We’re still in the contraction phase.

“It takes a long time to build a herd back up again.”

Meaning beef prices at the supermarket might go higher until demand destruction hits. 

Soon, beef and eggs will be a delicacy for only the rich while everyone else ingests protein-rich insects

This post was originally published on this site

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