"It's hard to argue with the forecasts for higher beef prices," said Daniel Vaught, president of Vaught Futures Insights, a commodities consulting firm in Altus, Ark. "We simply won't have the same number of cattle entering the supply chain in the weeks and months ahead that we'd normally have."
Prices for beef at the grocer's meat case are up over 6% compared to this time last year, according to the Labor Department. In August, wholesale prices jumped nearly 10% over three weeks as retailers faced scarcer supplies of barbecue provisions like steaks, ribs and briskets.
"This has been one hell of a run for the beef market," said Tom Leffler, president of Leffler Commodities, a commodities brokerage in Augusta, Kan.