Beef Prices Rise, Consumers Cut Back

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“We’ve got a pretty good run on things right now and we’ve got some optimism in the market,” Billy Easter from the Wichita Livestock said.

At the Wichita Livestock sale, spirits are high, and so are the prices.

“We’re seeing a little run in the market. Packer cows are extremely high again. Good demand,” Easter said.

That means ranchers are getting more for their cattle, but you’re paying more at the table.

“Beef prices are leveling off a little bit right now, the past year, 2014, and the start of 2015,” Brenda Stephens, Owner of Red River Ranch Fine Meats said.

Why the increase?

“I think the shortage of cattle. Lots of droughts and the big freeze last year lost a lot of cattle in the cattle industry, so I think that’s the main reason. They’re trying to play catch up now,” Stephens said.

So beef lovers are looking for other types of meat, or economical ways to continue eating their steaks and roasts.

“They’ll get one steak and split between two now or they’ll use a roast and cook for two or three meals,” Stephens said.

And they’re eating different cuts, like the Ranch cut, which comes from the shoulder, and the Denver cut, which is out of chuck.

“Beef is going to be higher, but the quality is going to stay good. You know, the quality is a lot better,” Easter said.

And thanks to recent rains, Easter says area cattle have plenty of grass to eat, which means you’ll continue to get high quality meat.

Recent reports say a turnaround in beef prices is expected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the number of calves born increased last year from the year before.

That’s the first time that’s happened in 20 years.

But it will be another year or so before those calves hit the market, so prices might not come down until then.

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