WSJ -- Why Your Steak Is Getting Pricier

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Smokin Okie

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Why Your Steak Is Getting Pricier

Ranchers are shrinking cattle herds because of drought and high costs, cutting down the nation’s supply of beef. That threatens to push prices for steaks and burgers to records.


Pork producers, in contrast, have been expanding supply in recent years, and now see a glut in the face of weaker consumer demand. Chicken is America’s most consumed protein, but the value of the beef market is double that of chicken, at more than $30 billion for the 52 weeks that ended April 23, according to Circana. And neither pork nor chicken is hit as hard by the drought.

Thinner herds​

As costs on the farm rise, some ranchers are choosing to shrink their herds. It’s a weighty bet, because when the landscape reverses, it’s a slow process to rebuild: It takes roughly 18 to 22 months to grow beef cattle to market weight, compared with chickens, which are ready to be slaughtered in six weeks, and hogs, in about six months.

The total U.S. cattle supply, which includes dairy cattle, this year is at about 89.3 million, down 3% from 2022, according to the USDA’s annual cattle report released in January. The number of cows that are used for breeding beef cattle is at its lowest level in six decades.
 
Hopefully I can ride it out, as I have a freezer packed full from before the prices went crazy.
 
I hope the local meat store I just found the other day. Doesn't change their prices.

Chris
 
I can as well but I’d assume that this will impact their pricing as well?
It does but so far i have gotten lucky to get ahead of the price increase so it hurts a bit less. My last quarter was $120 more than the previous year. I still came out ahead over retail and got better quality beef.
 
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I hope the local meat store I just found the other day. Doesn't change their prices.
Now's the time . Even if you have to buy a small freezer . Get stocked up . I watch this stuff pretty close as it applies to me , meaning I go once a week on the same day and check actual prices at the store I buy from . I've watched things trend up and down since 2019 , and beef is on the rise again . I go the same day , because it's the day they get a delivery . So I can tell by the new purchase which way it's going . If that makes sense . If it's higher than the last go round and I have room I'll buy .
Bite the bullet and grab a grinder . Save the clean trim from the beef you buy and grind it . I haven't bought store ground beef in years .
A normal purchase for me looks like this . All the clean trim from the cryo vac'd meat goes to grind . Pork gets mixed with beef . You get ahead of the money pretty fast doing it like this . I just did 8lbs of sausage from a pork butt that was $13.00 . 5 links of Johnsonville brats are $7.50 here .

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I thought this was a repeat article from a few years ago because the exact same points were mentioned. It shows a current date, though.

I love beef, but have been eating more pork and poultry due to the price increase over the last several years, but those prices have also increased. I only buy meat on sale and keep my freezer stocked.
 
Bite the bullet and grab a grinder . Save the clean trim from the beef you buy and grind it . I haven't bought store ground beef in years .
The trim off of any beef is already spoken for by my wife. She uses it to feed our flying neighbors, and that's one battle I won't engage her in.

Now's the time . Even if you have to buy a small freezer . Get stocked up .

We had a smallish freezer in the garage for a while. Then it got hit by someone not paying close enough attention when they were pulling the car in. We're thinking about another one that I can get downstairs in the basement.

I'm not very good at planning meals out in advance. I never really know what I feel like eating on my days off until that day. Our kitchen freezer is usually full and will slowly get emptied by me taking things out for work lunches and my wife taking things out for her on the days I work. I've been known to take something out of the freezer to defrost, spend the day smoking it, then not feel like eating it after. So I'll slice it up into single portions and freeze it back up for another day. That's the main reason I like to shop the day before or the morning of a cook. Something usually catches my eye.

Chris
 
Chris , I'm the exact same way . The older I get the worse it gets . I'll change my mind 5 times over the course of the day . Have a couple things thawed out , then send my daughter out to get a pizza .
 
Don't forget the other Very important reason beef prices are ridiculous.

The last I knew 4 companies controlled around 80% of the beef market. I don't remember all the players but Tyson was one.

This is old but it illustrates the point.

More recently the situation is a little better.
 
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Our butcher raised prices to process whole beef from 80 cents a pound before Covid to $2 a pound to cut and wrap. Prices went crazy and you have to book your process date a year in advance
 
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