POSTED: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 6:43pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 10, 2014 - 9:39pm
Tyler, Texas (KETK) — Cattle traders rang in the new year with record high prices, and consumers can expect to pay more at the meat counter as a result.
East Texas cattle rancher, Jim Gutherie, has been in the cow business for decades, "The biggest reason why the price of cattle is so high is because of the drought, people liquidated their herds because they just didn't have enough forage, or feed, to keep their cows, " Gutherie said. Cattle raisers were forced to reduced or sell their enitre herd to out-of-state buyers because they simply couldn't afford the high price of feed. Now, restocking their herds is now more expensive than ever. "600 dollars back a couple of years ago was a good price for a calf to take them to the sale barn, now it's more like 1,000 to 1,200 dollars, it's double." Guthrie said.
The supply of cattle is slim as well, the cattle population in Texas is dwindling, "they're just not available, it's supply and demand, trying to find cows to build up a herd," Gutherie said. In the past year Texas has seen a more than five percent decrease in the cattle population, causing a supply squeeze with a steady demand—with a price spike.
All of these factors create a price hike at your local grocer's meat counter. Beef prices in 2014 are expected to be 2.5 to 3.5 percent higher than in years past.
Gutherie says, It's a sellers market, not a buyers; and he doesn't antipipate the prices going down any time soon, "It's going to be several years down the road before the market will start to level off and the number of cows will go up and the beef prices will go down."
If you have questions, comments, or concerns about this story please contact Reporter, Nicole Vowell: NVowell@ketknbc.com