Drought conditions affecting beef prices

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Beef prices are reaching record high and it’s not going to get better any time soon.

Those in the meat production industry say beef prices tend to rise every summer because the demand also goes up. Experts say this year is worse because of a continuing drought that has affected much of the country.

“What happens with the drought is that cattle don’t get to their full capabilities, their full yield so there’s not as much meat to go around ’cause the price to go up,” Palama Holdings corporate chef Ryan Day said.

The drought also causes feed prices to go up. It’s the reason why record prices are being seen for beef on the mainland.

Day says we shouldn’t see any drastic increase in Hawaii. Prices are expected to go up in July, probably five to 10 cents per pound. He says ground beef will likely stay the same because there’s just so much more of it.

Is it enough to stop meat lovers from buying their favorite cuts of beef for their Fourth of July barbecue?

“No, if I want it I buy it. If it’s too much I’ll look for something cheaper but if I want beef I’ll buy beef,” St. Louis Heights resident Kris Johnston said.

Day says since Hawaii is already paying more for beef due to shipping costs, the local prices won’t change drastically.

“I think if you were in Idaho or something and you’re used to paying $1.99 per pound. They’ll probably a little more sticker shocked. I think over here we’re kind of more balanced,” Day said.

While there is local beef around, that too, is higher because the demand can’t keep up with the supply. Day says a good way to get a deal on beef when you shop is by talking to the butcher.

“Go buzz the butcher bell. They have them at Costco, they have them at retailers, go and talk to the guys. They run specials, they have different buyers for each retail store and they’ll have something on special and they know what’s coming in next week,” Day said.

Beef prices will likely come back down in September and go back up again before the holidays due to demand.

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