Cheap beef ending soon

CattleI was just ordering some whole wheat berries to feed my nascent bread-from-scratch habit, and the farmer told me that there’s currently a glut of beef on the market, which is keeping prices fairly low and steady. Farmers can’t afford grain to feed the cows, because we’re feeding that grain to our cars instead. So they’re “dumping” their cattle and cutting their losses.

Anyone care to guess what happens to the price of beef once the herds are culled?



  1. Derrick said,

    March 20, 2008 at 9:00 am

    This is also the reason milk and dairy items are going up in price. Ethanol is a great alternative to our regular fuels, but corn just plain sucks as making it. I’m guessing this all boils down to farm subsidies and our government.

    “Corn ethanol subsidies totaled $7.0 billion in 2006 for 4.9 billion gallons of ethanol.”

  2. Starr said,

    March 20, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I thought ethanol could come from a variety of sources (day old breads for example) so why is there a fixation on corn in this country?

    I am still trudging through In Defense of Food. I should finish it by tomorrow. I will be glad to. I must say he isn’t the best writer.

  3. Murph said,

    March 21, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Beer is rising in price too (ask a homebrewer) – the ethanol craze means that barley growers are moving to corn, creating a scarcity of malt for beer. Hooray for unintended consequences!

  4. Daisy said,

    March 21, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Yes, we’ve noticed the hops shortages round here, too… tis quite sad.

  5. Jack'sDad said,

    March 21, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    The price of grains going up will only have a positive effect on the price and quality of beef. While most people believe the advertisements that grain fed beef is the best the truth of the matter is that a cow’s natural diet is grass. On the flip side factory farmed cows are not only fed grains, they are fed bakery waste, orange rind cakes from the oj makers, animal parts and are usually shot full of growth hormones and antibiotics. A factory farmed dairy cow’s average lifespan is four years. A pastured dairy cow’s average life span is 14 years. Purchase meat and milk from a local farmer that is pasture raising his cows and you will get the best tasting, healthiest meat and dairy available. If the price of grains sky rockets we will have more farmers opting to pasture their cows. Does anyone remember your parents taking you for a drive as a kid and you would see farms w/cows on pasture everywhere along the country side. You hardly see that anymore because they are all kept in huge sheds. It has been shown that pastured cows are healthier and the cost to feed and keep healthy is much less then grain fed cows. The only difference is that you get bigger cows from grains to maximize profits but not taste and not the health of the cow or you.

  6. Emily said,

    March 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Jack’s Dad- that’s a really good point! I wonder if the price of pastured beef will increase less than grain-fed because the extra cost of time-to-finish and lower weight has already been absorbed. Nah, that’s probably wishful thinking…as supply of all beef decreases, prices will go up…

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