QUOTE AND NEWS
Clusterstock  Jul 28  Comment 
Everyone likes to order their steak differently, but when it comes to flavor, one level of doneness is a cut above the rest.  If you want the most flavor and juice in your slab of meat, you should order you steak medium rare, not medium well or...
Benzinga  Jul 28  Comment 
The USDA reported today that pork weekly export sales for the period ending July 21st totaled 10,700 tonnes. Sales were down 5 percent from the previous week and down 9 percent from the four week average.  Beef sales totaled 20,700 tonnes, up...
The Hindu Business Line  Jul 27  Comment 
Muslim women attacked, arrested in MP town on suspicion of carrying beef
MarketWatch  Jul 27  Comment 
The Impossible Burger — a hotly awaited, laboratory-created, all-plant product meant to look, taste and smell like beef and even ooze “blood” — was unveiled Tuesday by its biochemist creator Patrick O. Brown and superchef David Chang.
Benzinga  Jul 22  Comment 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Monthly Cold Storage report showed that stocks of frozen beef in the nations freezers on June 31st totaled 451.233 million pounds versus 474.274 million pounds a year ago. Stocks of frozen pork totaled 585.844...
The Hindu Business Line  Jul 21  Comment 
Asks Prime Minister to get clarifications from US before allowing imports
Clusterstock  Jul 20  Comment 
McDonald's has been testing fresh, never-frozen beef patties at restaurants in Dallas. Wall Street analysts have applauded the change, but some McDonald's franchisees say it's a food-safety disaster waiting to happen. In a recent survey...
CNNMoney.com  Jul 19  Comment 
Read full story for latest details.
Benzinga  Jul 14  Comment 
The USDA reported today that beef weekly export sales for the period ending July 7th totaled 12,800 tonnes, down 17 percent from the previous week and the four week average. Pork weekly export sales totaled 6,200 tonnes, down 62 percent from the...
BBC News  Jul 13  Comment 
Saudi Arabia has lifted a four-year ban on US beef imports that followed a scare over mad cow disease.




RELATED WIKI ARTICLES
 


This article is about Beef Prices in general. For the specific futures contracts, see the articles on Live Cattle Futures and Feeder Cattle Futures.

In 2007, the retail value of all US produced beef was $74 billion.[1] Beef prices depend in part on the availability and pricing of cattle feed. For instance, heavy droughts often result in the reduction of available hay stocks, so prices drop slightly as more cattle are slaughtered and sent to market. However, this reduces breeding stock, subsequently reducing supply and raising prices in the long term.[2] Reliance on corn cattle feed (especially distiller's dry grain--see DDG under Ethanol Production) also makes beef prices susceptible to significant changes in corn prices.[3]

The chart at left shows spot prices for Live Cattle on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Who benefits from higher beef prices?

  • Tyson Foods (TSN), and Brazilian JBS S.A. (SAO:JBSS3), owner of Swift Foods, examples of major public beef protein processors (they hold 24% and 18.5% of US market share, respectively), benefit when beef prices rise.[4][5]
  • Smaller, private beef producers and processors, such as Cargill Meat Solutions, with 21% of US market share, and National Beef, with 10.5% of US market share, also benefit when beef prices rise.[6]
  • AspenBio Pharma (OTC:APNB), Alpharma (ALO) and other manufacturers of livestock pharmaceuticals benefit from higher demand for cattle, which results in increased demand for the high-yield drugs that AspenBio manufactures.

Who benefits from lower beef prices?

Historical Beef Statistics

Trends and Forces

Increase in Feedstuff Prices Increases the Price of Beef

Beef Prices are heavily dependent on favorable pricing of feedstuffs, such as corn prices and soybeans, as food makes up the majority of the cost of raising livestock. Corn prices have risen sharply since the beginning of 2007 - more than 60% in 2007 and early 2008 - as ethanol producers have increased their demand for the commodity (rising oil prices, in turn, have increased demand for ethanol).[10] Corn is also the main input for many other food products such as high fructose corn syrup that are in increasing worldwide demand - but nonetheless the USDA expects U.S. farmers to plant 8% less corn in 2008, lowering supply and increasing prices.[11] Any long-term, significant increase in feedstuffs prices has the potential to seriously increase beef prices.

Rising Global Demand Pushes Up Beef Prices

In 2007, beef consumption rose at an annual rate of 5% in developing countries.[12] From 1990 to 2007, per capita consumption of meat doubled in China - 1.3 billion people ate twice as much meat as they did before.[13] As global demand increases, prices are pushed up and meat becomes more expensive.

Cattle Supply is Dependent on Weather Conditions

Farmers depend on forage - grass and wheat - to feed cows during the summer and fall. During droughts, not enough forage grows to feed the cattle and farmers are forced to dip into their winter hay reserves to feed their herds. In order to make sure they have enough hay for the winter, farmers send surplus cattle to market, increasing supply in the short term, but reducing breeding stock and decreasing supply in the long term.

Import Bans Decrease Supply and Increase Prices

When health scares, such as cases of mad cow disease, cause the United States to ban cattle imports from other countries, US supply shrinks and beef prices increase. For example, the 2003 ban of Canadian cattle imports decreased US supply by 8% and contributed to a 30% rise in cattle prices.[14]

Beef Industry Market Share

Tyson Foods (TSN) is the largest US producer of beef with 25% of the US market.

Cargill Meat Solutions is the second largest US beef producer with 21% of the US market.

Swift Foods, which is owned by Brazilian meat producer JBS S.A. (SAO:JBSS3), is the third largest US beef producer with 18.5% of the US market.

National Beef is the fourth largest US beef producer with 10.5% of the US market.

Note: Market share data from NWA Online

References

  1. U.S. Beef and Cattle Industry: Background Statistics and Information
  2. Drought loss expected to reach $30M for six-county region; feds could issue disaster declaration
  3. [1] Corn Prices Near Record High, But What About Food Costs?
  4. [2] Tyson Foods: Overview
  5. [3] Beef Losses Prompt Cutbacks
  6. [4] Beef Losses Prompt Cutbacks
  7. http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/mcbeef.html
  8. Chicago Business, "Kraft, Sara Lee face rising beef and pork prices"
  9. [5] U.S. Beef and Cattle Industry: Background Statistics and Information
  10. [6] National Corn Growers Association Futures Quotes
  11. [7]|"USDA Bets on Soy, but Farmers Like Corn"
  12. [8] More wealth, more meat. How China's rise spells trouble
  13. [9] Meat demand in Asia fuels higher food prices
  14. [10]The price of beef becomes hard to swallow
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