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Surging Ground Beef Prices, As Wholesale Tops $6

Sticker shock is greeting shoppers at grocery stores across the country. From ground beef at $7.99 per pound in Eureka, Kan. To $11.88 per pound in Lawrence, grocers are grappling with a changing market. “In this past five to seven days, the market has just gone crazy,” says Mark Thomas, one of the owners of C&R Supermarkets , with 11 locations in rural Missouri. “Most suppliers have put grocery stores on allocations to the point... Read More

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Meat Production Threatened With Disruption

The U.S. meat industry faces unprecedented threats as COVID-19 sweeps through labor forces at meat processing facilities nationwide. Production of beef, pork and poultry are simultaneously threatened as COVID-19 infections affect labor availability and processing capacity in multiple facilities across all meat industries. Reduced processing capacity could cause backups in live animal supplies if animals cannot be processed in a timely fashion. The severity of impacts will depend on specific situations and locations but could... Read More

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Possible Beef Price Fixing

Iowa Senator Charles Grassley is among some farm-state senators who are calling for investigations of beef packing companies following the surge in wholesale beef prices that led to extreme processing profit margins. Texas Congressman Mike Conaway told AgriTalk Tuesday he thinks a probe into packer profits is likely. Cattlemen have complained that surging meat prices due to the COVID-19 crisis hoarding did not translate into higher cattle prices. During the crisis, CME futures prices plunged... Read More

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Demand Surge Drives Cash, Boxes Higher

Demand for U.S. meat will likely exceed supplies for at least another week as coronavirus restrictions spurred consumers to stock up on meat and other household essentials. That lit a fire under the beef market this week and shot packer profit margins nearly $400 higher, though the meager increase in cash cattle means producers only saw $40 to $50 of the week's $350 - $450 gains in beef prices. Efforts to restock meatcases and the... Read More

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Another Black Swan Hits Cattle Markets

Fears over the coronavirus wiped out more than $3 trillion in the equities markets this week. Livestock and grain markets were hammered, too. The coronavirus meltdown is the second black swan event for cattlemen in six months, but many fear this is worse than the Tyson packing plant fire. Worse because of the uncertainty. With the Tyson fire, the industry knew the extent of the damage and had realistic ideas of how long the event... Read More

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Tighter Cattle Supplies Will Boost 2020 Prices

Mother Nature threw enough obstacles at ranching in 2019 to discourage even the most hardened of cowboys. They responded by sending more heifers and cows to slaughter than expected, which has given analysts reason for optimism in 2020. “Broadly speaking, 2020 is shaping up to be better than 2019 for cattle prices,” says Kansas State University livestock economist Glynn Tonsor. “The main drivers would be that we are slowing down the volume of production of... Read More

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Restaurant Animal Welfare Marketing Is Ineffective

Despite growing pressure on American restaurants from animal activists, linking animal welfare to marketing programs has thus far been ineffective for restaurants. A new study by the University of Missouri suggests that while the restaurant industry is often criticized for not doing more to push animal welfare reforms, but even when they do their marketing efforts miss the mark. “Restaurants have faced a lot of criticism for how they source their food, and it is... Read More

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Why Prime Still Pays

The proportion of fed cattle carcasses grading USDA Prime was up by one-third in 2018, bringing the annual share of Prime to 7.95%, over 2017 s average of 6%. That surge narrowed the spreads between the year s Prime cutout value, USDA s “branded” beef category and commodity Choice. Those differences stayed wide through July, with a Prime-Choice spread averaging $14.50/cwt., but from August forward, supply overcame demand at times with the gap narrowing to... Read More

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