Batten Down The Burger Hatches: Beef Prices Ballooning This Year

Snacking on steak sandwiches and biting into burgers is going to hit you where it hurts, in your already moaning and groaning wallet. Ground beef prices are already at a record high and are going to keep soaring, and the cost of steak is on the uptick too. Time to go vegetarian!

USA Today blames the price increases partly on severe drought on the plains where cattle herds roam, bringing the number of beef-giving cattle to the lowest levels since 1952. The Agriculture Department says there are only about 91 million head of cattle in the country on Jan. 1, a 2% decrease from last year.

Another contributor is the skyrocketing price of corn, which ranchers use to bolster the diet of their cattle. When there’s no grass, corn is expensive and land comes at a premium price, ranchers end up selling their cattle to feedlots or slaughterhouses if they can’t afford to feed them. Many animals were sold to feedlots or slaughterhouses.

Ground beef could go up 4-5% this year from $2.87 a pound to $3.55 per, and steak is skyrocketing 14% to more than $6.00 a pound, after a previous increase of 10% last year. Makes you want to rethink those weekly barbecues, or at least reach for the ground turkey.

Smallest U.S. cattle herd in 60 years may raise beef prices [USA Today]