Beef, pork prices forecasted to climb 3-4 percent

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The USDA’s Changes in Food Price Indexes shows the price of meat has not substantially changed so far this year, but a jump is coming as grilling season begins.

The latest report by the Economic Research Service reveals beef, pork and poultry will be increase by three-to-four percent. Meat prices were 3.6 percent higher in 2012, led by beef which increased by 10.2 percent in 2011 and another 6.4 percent in 2012.

Pork prices were relatively steady in 2012, increasing by 0.3 percent during the year.

Spring usually prompts higher meat prices as consumers begin grilling season, however the demand has been delayed with winter storms moving across the country.

Last week’s Cattle on Feed report shows shrinking feedlot inventories with fewer placements in every weight category from the year before. The tight supplies have led cattle futures to charge higher in three of the last four sessions.

Money spent on food away from home is expected to increase this year by about 3 percent to remain in line with growth over the previous two years.

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KS  |  March, 25, 2013 at 02:59 PM

An ERS estimate of 3 - 4% ought to translate into a retail hike of another 30 - 40% in the meat case. It's all good since, as you point out, our national economy is growing gangbusters at about 2 - 3 %, so no worries! You made me wince with your "a jump is coming as grilling season begins" excuse. You must admit that sounds contrived. Like the oil refiners, we need to switch over to the summer driving blend of up-priced product? I wish you were making a joke but we've come to know better out of long experience. We are losing market share to pork and chicken, some of that is lost forever. We will live to regret the timing of our inability to supply the market. Better grab all we can right this minute 'cause leaner times are coming for beef producers when we get supplies back up. You think beef prices went up quick? Wait till you see how fast and far they can fall this next time. We're training customers to be able to take it or leave it when it comes to beef. It will take a lot of sizzle to entice them back. A lot more than the winter non-grilling season, mate.

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