Going Up

Meat prices expected to rise due to higher feed costs

steakGet ready consumers.  Cattle prices could set a new record due to high feed costs that have led to fewer animals being produced.  Hog prices are expected to have their second highest year ever.

“The forecast for the coming year is 4.3 percent less beef than a year ago, 0.2 percent more pork, 0.4 percent less chicken, and 0.3 percent more turkey,” said Ron Plain, the D. Howard Doane Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri.

And while cattle prices are going up, consumption is going down.

Ron Plain.Ron Plain.

“The U.S. meat supply per capita has been steadily declining,” Plain said. “It’s expected that 2013 will be the seventh consecutive year with less meat per person, down 22 pounds from 2006 and the lowest per capita supply since 1991.”

Plain made his comments during the 2013 MU Extension Winter AgMarketing Outlook Conference.

Slaughter steer, yearling and slaughter cow prices all reached record highs in 2012, Plain continued. This is the third straight year for steers to set record prices and the second consecutive year for both yearlings and slaughter cows.

“The expectation is that all three will set new price records again in 2013,” Plain said. “We are not yet to the peak in cattle prices.”

The calf crop is expected to be smaller than last year. Plain says that 2012 was the 17th consecutive year with a smaller calf crop. With the shrinking herd and tightening supplies, Plain thinks 2014 prices will be even higher.

Hogs have also been hit by the high cost of feed.  The number of farrowing sows this spring is forecast to be down 1.9 percent, a modest reduction.