Beef Prices Won't Rise After Ten Thousand Cattle Die in Amarillo Wildfires - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/16/06

Beef Prices Won't Rise After Ten Thousand Cattle Die in Amarillo Wildfires

Wildfires ripping through the Amarillo area are doing more than charring land, at least 10,000 head of cattle have also died in the fires. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire asked several industry experts what that will do to local beef prices.

Texas is the number one beef producing state in the nation. It's no doubt the wildfires destroying one million acres of land is tragic, however we learned it would take a much larger disaster to make the prices of beef budge.

The Amarillo area has already lost thousands of acres of land because of the wildfires, and now thousands of cattle are also among the losses.

Agricultural experts predict nearly 10,000 head of cattle will die because of the wildfires. A tragedy for ranchers losing herds, however Cagle's Steakhouse owner John Cagle says that will not effect on what you pay for beef.

"As serious as all that is to those immediate areas affected buy the fires, no I would not expect our local box delivery beef prices to be affected by them," said Cagle.

With over 100,000 ranchers and 14 million head of cattle statewide, Texas is the top beef producing state in the nation. Buying and selling beef is an international market and 10,000 lost head isn't much compared when you factor in the millions of other beef cattle nationwide and worldwide. Experts say it would take a much larger scale disaster before the prices of beef would be affected.

Texas Tech Agriculture and Applied Economics Associate Director Dr. Don Ethridge said, "The number of livestock that have been lost in terms of the total market is not of the magnitude to be significant enough to move the price."

Cagle has many friends who run ranches in the devastated areas, and while we are left unaffected his friends are now cleaning up the mess the wildfires left behind. "It's a devastating and horrible natural disaster. It shows maybe the west is still a partly tough place to live," said Cagle.

We learned beef prices are expected to decrease in the next two years. Because of the long standing drought our area has experienced there's less grass for cattle to feed on meaning many of them will be processed much sooner leading to a surplus of beef experts say that means prices should go down in the near future.

USDA Forest Service Wildfire Map
Track active wildfires and the efforts to combat them with the USDA Forest Service Wildfire Map.

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