Kansas Farm Bureau economist Mark Nelson predicts that as 2012 and 2013 arrive, there will be tighter and tighter supplies of cattle to produce beef in this country.
The U.S. beef industry is in the throes of a severe drought that is burning up the southern High Plains – particularly Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. Beginning next year, supplies of processed cattle should tighten. This will more than likely mean higher prices for beef.
This same drought that is burning up the middle of the country means consumers will probably pay more for their hamburgers and strip steaks.
Ranchers across these states are liquidating their herds at historically high rates as grazing land, feed and water supplies dry up. Texas alone is expected to lose 600,000 head of beef cattle.
Those livestock producers who have been forced to shrink their herds will be left with fewer cattle to sell. Because they’ve been forced to sell off large numbers of heifers, many will have smaller breeding herds to rebuild supplies.