The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

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
Top News
  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • 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

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clinton Community School District 2013-2014 Wages

    Clinton Community School District 2013-2014 Wages

    July 24, 2014

  • techel.jpg Iowa man convicted of killing pregnant wife

    A jury convicted an Iowa man Thursday of killing his pregnant wife in 2012, rejecting his claims of innocence after the third trial in the case.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • RAGBRAI rider from Sioux City dies in Mason City

    A RAGBRAI participant from Sioux City has been found dead in his tent in Mason City in the second death during the weeklong bicycling event.

    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

  • Deliberations resume at Iowa man's murder trial

    Jurors will be allowed to review the video, but not the transcript, of an Iowa man being interrogated as they consider whether he's guilty of murder in the death of his pregnant wife.

    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

  • Health insurers owe Iowans nearly $1.8M in refunds

    The federal government says insurers owe Iowans nearly $1.8 million in refunds because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act.

    July 24, 2014

AP Video