Cold weather affects cattle, beef prices spike - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Cold weather affects cattle, beef prices spike

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – People craving a hamburger or a nice steak this winter, may think twice before they buy one.

For the past few months, the cost of choice-grade beef is at a record high.

"Well it really all started with the weather," said Festival Foods Store Director Kevin Schnell. "The packers really didn't want to ship during the real cold for fear it might hurt the cattle."

The droughts and now an extremely cold winter is lessening the meat supply. That's bringing up cost. And the demand for beef has remained the same, Schnell said.

"When we see our suppliers reacting, we need to look at how best we can react. In this case it was trying to take a small increase (in price) while not passing everything on to the customers," he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture shows the retail price for a pound of choice-grade beef was at $5.08 in December 2012. In December 2013, that number made its way to $5.36 per pound. It's a $0.28 increase.

The price of choice beef was even higher in November 2013. The retail price came in at $5.41 per pound.

Some shoppers said they've been refining recipes for that very reason.

"It just means that I can't buy as much. So I just buy less meat and more vegetables because they're cheaper," said shopper Kerrie Hauser.

"My wife and I, we look for recipes, we do a lot of different things," said shopper Jim Nesbitt. "So sometimes we go without meat, most times we don't (go without it). I'm kind of a meat eater."

Retailers are hoping to bring down prices soon.

"We're anticipating by mid to end February we should be through it," Schnell said.

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