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OSU - cattle prices continue to climb in 2012

Texas Agriculture Daily News

For Texas cattlemen, 2011 was a year of extremes and records.

The drought conditions that plagued them last year were only countered by both strong prices and a strong export market. According to livestock economists at Oklahoma State University (OSU), ranchers could see another year of record cattle prices in 2012.

Experts point to the shrinking cattle herds in the United States leading to tighter supplies as a major driver behind increasing prices.

Yet Dr. Derrell Peel, an OSU livestock economist, said that, while low supply is the main factor at the moment, it will be consumer demand that determines just how high prices will go.

As unemployment remains a concern, many are unsure about US consumers' willingness to pay higher beef prices. Some experts predict an increase in retail prices from 4 to 12 percent in 2012.