Good news, burger lovers—the price of beef is expected to fall soon, ending its run of record high prices just in time for outdoor grilling season next year. And for that you can thank the cows themselves, who are gorging themselves in feedlots for longer than usual, getting fatter than ever before.
Cattle futures have already fallen 22% from an all time high just a year ago, Farm Journal reports, due to classic supply/demand dynamics: supply is increasing as American ranchers rebuild their holdings following the 2012 drought in cattle country that decimated many herds, while consumer preferences have switched in recent years to chicken and pork. With futures falling, feedlot owners are taking advantage of cheap grain feed to minimize losses by keeping head of cattle in feedlots longer, letting them put on weight so they fetch higher prices. The gluttonous cattle are thus getting fatter than ever—last month the average beast sold to slaughter weighed 1,390 pounds, an all-time high.
Wholesale prices for beef have already fallen 23% from an all-time high in May and analysts believe that by the time the weather warms up the effects of the obese cows stuffing their faces with corn will trickle down to consumers, who can expect cheaper beef prices.
So where’s the beef? Right now it’s in a feed lot sucking mind-bending quantities of carbs down its gullet, our Jabba the Hutt of American agriculture, growing ever more corpulent all to become gloriously affordable burger patties for your Fourth of July grilling party.