If you are a fan of beef, you might want to find a new kind of meat to eat, at least for the time being.
Fox Business reports that experts are predicting an increase in the already-elevated price of beef in the near future.
What’s going on?
According to Fox, there are several factors that experts believe will lead to even steeper prices for beef.
One factor is the cattle inventory, which according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is decreasing. The department, in fact, reports that the cattle inventory has dropped 2% over the past year. Currently, it sits at about 98.8 million.
Another factor, according to Fox, is the number of females and steers that are being sent to feedlots. The percentage of females in feedlots has increased by 3% from where it was a year ago.
These two factors are leading experts to predict higher beef prices in the coming years.
But, there is even more to the story.
Why the inventory decrease?
Again, there are many factors to consider, but one of the most impactful, according to Fox, is drought. This year’s drought is said to be worse than droughts experienced in recent years meaning that producers have been less able to feed their cattle either themselves or by sending their cattle to other parts of the country to graze during the dry spell. The necessary rain for feed crops just hasn’t been there.
Additionally, input costs are through the roof. This includes such things as the cost of feed for cattle, the cost of fertilizer, the cost of diesel for tractors and trucks, and so on.
The result is that producers are being forced to thin their herds to a greater extent than they otherwise would. This is a large part of the reason why the cattle inventory is decreasing and the cost of beef is increasing.
The reason that the increase is expected to continue is that these problems are not that easy to solve, especially in the short term. Once a herd is depleted, for example, it could take years to build it back up. And, no one, as of yet, has figured out a way to make it rain.
So, as stated at the outset, if you’re a beef lover, it might be time to find a different kind of meat to eat until this situation is corrected. But, for now, it appears as though beef prices are only going in one direction, and that is up.