Ag experts: Expect beef prices to continue to climb for two more - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Ag experts: Expect beef prices to continue to climb for two more years

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Due to that drought, beef prices are on the rise, which experts say won't level off for a few years. Due to that drought, beef prices are on the rise, which experts say won't level off for a few years.
LE MARS, Iowa (KTIV) -

This summer's drought hit farmers and consumers immediately, and experts warned that more bad effects could follow.

Due to that drought, beef prices are on the rise, which experts say won't level off for a few years.

Prolonged drought made the summer rough on farmers.

"Pastures just quit growing and the feed just wasn't available," said Ellis.

Now, I-S-U ag experts are putting on a series of fall seminars, so farmers can weather the winter. Shane Ellis is a farm management specialist, trying to help farmers cope with the drought that took crops from bumper to bummer in just a matter of weeks.

"We definitely saw the profitability change for all of our producers," said Ellis.

Ellis says because the corn wasn't growing, dairy and beef cattle farmers needed to take some drastic steps to save money.

"We started seeing some liquidation happening there in June and July," said Ellis.

Ellis says he expects beef prices will go up between 4 and 5 percent next year, with similar spikes in 2014. He says it could be 2015 before prices could level off.

"It's one calf per cow. Just the biology of the industry, it's a tougher boat to turn around," said Ellis.

But the more immediate challenge comes this winter. Normally, farmers have stockpiled field corn. But, now, they'll have to improvise.

"Lot of bails have been round-bailed, in terms of the corn stalks and a lot of silage was chopped early this fall, in September," said Doran.

Doran says those kinds of feed are less nutritious, so farmers must be creative to blend in corn throughout the season to keep the cows healthy.

"The thing is coming back now and figuring out, are there certain parts, like in the finishing period, where they'll have to feed corn 70 to 80 days, but they might be able to get by on the front part of that feeding period, using some of that corn silage," said Doran.

A mild winter could help, but the alternative is daunting.

"Above average moisture and below average temperatures...those definitely drive up the feed demands of the cattle and so more feed needs to be utilized," said Ellis.

Ellis says there will be costs, even for the most efficient farmer.

"It's definitely not going to be cheap, no matter what the alternatives are," said Ellis.

ISU has two more seminars for cattle farmers who want to learn about strategies for the winter.

Capstan will hold a seminar on Nov. 19, and ISU's Storm Lake campus will hold one on Nov. 20.

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