Shrinking U.S. Cattle Herd Likely Means Higher Beef Prices

American shoppers struggling with inflation are looking at higher beef prices continuing in their local meat cases. Because of high feed prices and severe drought, ranchers were forced to reduce their cattle herds. Grain prices have dropped to their lowest levels since Russia invaded Ukraine, but Reuters says that might not mean lower food prices right away at the grocery store. Corn futures have dropped by 26 percent since they hit a 10-year high in April after the Ukraine conflict sparked supply worries. However, those corn prices are still nine percent higher than last year. While the lower prices benefit livestock producers, U.S. government data showed on July 1 that producers had already lowered the nation’s cattle herd by approximately two percent compared to last year. Ground beef prices are already ten percent higher than last year. Because of continuing drought in cattle country, producers will likely still have to liquidate even more cattle.