The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Business & Technology

July 3, 2014

Cattle at record signals higher beef costs for July 4th grillers

CHICAGO — Cattle futures extended a rally to a record as Americans are gearing up to pay the most ever for beef served at barbecues over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Prices for wholesale beef jumped 23 percent this year, reaching an all-time high of $2.4813 a pound this week, and cattle prices have climbed 15 percent. Futures are rising after years of drought parched pastures in Texas, the top producer, forcing ranchers to shrink the U.S. herd to the smallest in 63 years.

Reduced supplies drove retail prices for ground beef and and boneless-sirloin steak to records. Meat costs are increasing at a time when drought in California is making produce more expensive, and rising demand for U.S. dairy exports is also adding to grocery bills. An index tracking foods popular at barbecues rose 5.1 percent in May from a year earlier to the highest ever for the month, signaling record consumer expenses for holiday cookouts.

"We're going to see beef as becoming the rich man's meat," Chad Henderson, the president of Brookfield, Wisconsin- based Prime Agricultural Consultants, said in a telephone interview. "It is very, very expensive."

Consumers will pay as much as 6.5 percent more for beef and veal this year, the biggest gain of any food group, the Department of Agriculture forecasts. The cost of beef for Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill rose 25 percent in April from the fourth quarter of 2013, a "pretty dramatic" increase that prompted the restaurant chain to boost menu prices, Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung said at a conference on June 11.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement rose 0.7 percent to $2.17625 a pound on the CME, after touching an all- time high of $2.18775 Wednesday.

Beef and dairy farmers held 87.7 million head of cattle as this year began, the fewest since 1951, the latest data from the USDA show.

Expanding the cattle herd to boost beef output is a slow process. The gestation for calves is nine months and animals take as long as 22 months to reach slaughter weight.

Prices "are going to stay high," Dick Quiter, an account executive at Chicago-based McFarland Commodities, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "You're probably looking at a two-year cycle from now into 2016 before cow numbers are ramped back up to what they were."

               

 

1
Text Only
Business & Technology
  • Earns United Continental [Duplicate] United Airlines posts 2Q profit, reversing 1Q loss CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines is making money after a slow start to the year.The airline’s net income in the second quarter hit $789 million, topping Wall Street expectations and marking a turnaround from the first quarter when United was the only m

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • GM profit 2Q falls 85% on recall costs DETROIT (AP) — Recall expenses chopped $1.5 billion from General Motors’ bottom line in the second quarter, as it added up the costs of repairs for nearly 30 million cars and set aside funds to compensate victims of small-car crashes.The automaker, w

    July 25, 2014

  • Taiwan plane crash photo Air travel a leap of faith for passengers WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, “There

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (with VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the iPad lost its swag?

    The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year.

    CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stewart McCaskill photo McCaskill settles into new role at shoe store CLINTON — An Oklahoma boy at heart, Stewart McCaskill is settling into Clinton and Brown’s Shoe Fit.The 35-year-old has worked with the Brown’s Shoe Fit company for seven years. His brother-in-law, who manages a Brown’s in Colorado, brought Stewart i

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Earns Mcdonalds [Duplicate] McDonald's profit slips; U.S. sales decline OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) — McDonald’s Corp. said its profit slipped in the second quarter as sales in the U.S. continued to flag.The world’s biggest hamburger chain has been struggling to boost sales in its flagship market amid intensifying competition,

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SEC poised to end $1 a share for some money funds WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators are expected to vote Wednesday to end a longtime staple of the investment industry — the fixed $1 share price for money-market mutual funds — at least for some money funds used by big investors.The idea is to minimize the

    July 23, 2014

  • China McDonald's KFC [Duplicate] China meat scandal hits Starbucks, Burger King BEIJING — A suspect meat scandal in China engulfed Starbucks and Burger King today and spread to Japan where McDonald’s said the Chinese supplier accused of selling expired beef and chicken had provided 20 percent of the meat in its chicken nuggets.C

    July 22, 2014 5 Photos

Facebook