Cattle industry improving, but Lubbock producer says beef prices won’t

Live cattle are going for about $1.62 a pound currently. That is a big jump from March of 2022.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 9:40 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The cattle market seems to be heading in a good direction, but one producer in Lubbock County says the price you pay for beef in grocery stores probably won’t go down.

Live cattle are going for about $1.62 a pound currently. That is a big jump from March of 2022.

Quinton Whitfield, owner of W2 Livestock in Lubbock County, says the current number is good for some, but not for those who are having to rebuild herds.

“If you got a bunch to sell then it’s good for you, but it’s kind of tough to get started back with prices kind of high,” Whitfield said.

Rancher Whitfield says a lot of producers are trying to get back in the cattle industry.

“That’s one reason why the cattle prices are a lot higher,” Whitfield said. “There’s been quite a demand for packer cows that are going to the meat processing plants.”

While the cost of feed is keeping some producers out of the cattle business.

“We’ve got about 160 cows turned out on some wheat right now and some milo stocks, but the wheat’s playing out because we haven’t got any rain,” Whitfield said. “Once that stuff gets warm, it’s going to quit growing altogether with no moisture and then we’re going to have to figure out what to do with those cows.”

Whitfield says luckily he has some grass in another location where the cows can graze. an option most ranchers don’t have.

“If we don’t get some rain pretty quick, we’ll be right back in the same boat, and then we’ll be right back to giving them away,” Whitfield said.

So how does this effect the price of a hamburger? Whitfield says he doesn’t see higher prices moseying on anytime soon.

“It’s probably going to stay the same, " Whitfield said. “Usually, when people get used to paying for something and they don’t really complain about it after a while they kind of stick it to us and leave us there.”

Whitfield says the extra money you’re paying at the grocery stores isn’t going to the rancher. He says those big bucks are going to the packer.