Cattle Prices Continue to Rise

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COOPER COUNTY - Cattle prices are nearing an all-time high and MU livestock economist Scott Brown said Thursday that beef prices will probably continue to go up in the coming months. But Brown said cattle farmers aren't profiting as much as some might think because the costs of raising the animals are continually going up. "Record prices haven't really translated into record profits for any segment of the industry."

Brown said the high cattle prices are a combination of a low supply of cattle in the U.S. because of drought in the South and a high international demand for beef. "International trade has also been very strong, so beef exports to places like Japan have been growing substantially as we've gone through 2011."

Consumers will likely see an increase of beef prices at the store in the coming months. Assistant Store Director Matt Rohe at the Hy-Vee on West Broadway in Columbia said grocers have to raise beef prices to cover costs but try not to raise prices too much to avoid price shock.

One cattle farmer in Cooper County, Nathan Alpers, said he is happy to see the high prices, but he sold his fall calves about a month and a half ago when cattle prices were ten to 15 percent lower. However, Alpers will be able to reap the benefits of the high cattle prices when he sells his spring calves.