I've been in the market for a few steers I can raise this year, and prices at the auction for them have been high-very high. Higher than I've ever seen them.
Last years prices were high, too, but we're probably up 30-50% since last year. What's going on?
What's causing the beef price increase is the decrease in the US herd -- supply and demand, mostly. The US cow herd is at the lowest level since 1950. Ranchers have been selling animals for the last few years that they'd normally keep and breed.
The main reason for that is drought in the plains states. Almost all beef cattle start out as grass-fed. They're raised on pasture with their mothers for the first months of their life before they're weaned and sent off to the next step in the process.
Calf production has been in the decline for the last 16 years straight, but drought has accelerated that process in the last couple of years, and you can expect to see record prices for beef in 2013.
Right now ground beef is wholesaling for $3/lb.
Most of the ranchers around me are looking pretty happy. At these prices, they'll make a good profit on their animals.
On my own farm I've purchased 20 steers which I'll raise on grass and sell in 2013.
Grasspunk just slaughtered a bull to eat. Pictures here.
19 hours ago