MINNEAPOLIS — This year, boxed beef prices will remain the same or will continue to fall to below levels established in December 2008, according to 57% of producers surveyed by BEEF magazine, a sister publication of SN published here. In addition, almost 70% of producers expect domestic demand for beef to remain stable or improve in 2009, with 51% of respondents saying demand will remain the same, and 18% expecting improvement.
If these predictions prove correct, 2009 will be a good year for retail meat departments. However, the survey of almost 600 ranchers and beef producers reflected near-term pessimism, with a majority of respondents expecting their input costs to moderate or rise this year, even as the price for cattle falls or flattens.
After a year in which prices for corn and soybeans reached historic highs, 54% of respondents did expect feed prices to stay the same or decrease in 2009, but 55% also expect energy costs to rise, and 54% expect inflation to rise.
Greater consensus was reached when producers were asked about their three-year outlook. The majority of respondents expect to see growing demand for beef, higher boxed beef prices, increased exports and improvements in the U.S. and world economies in this time frame.
“Producers are currently shell-shocked, but convinced that these are passing conditions,” wrote BEEF research manager Scott Grau. Full survey results can be found online at beefmagazine.com.