Cold storage beef low as demand, prices stay high


KMAland (IA)

Sep 7, 2021


Analysts are watching trends in the amount of beef in cold storage and what it might mean for beef prices and cattle markets.


The latest monthly cold storage report, released in late August, showed beef in cold storage totaling 401.3 million pounds. Andrew Griffith, University of Tennessee ag economist, says this is the lowest amount in cold storage in a while.


“This is the lowest quantity of beef in cold storage since November 2014, when slaughter levels were extremely low and beef prices were extremely strong,” he says.


Robust beef prices have been limiting the amount of beef in cold storage, Griffith says.


“Strong beef prices in the current market are again what is reducing the quantity of beef in cold storage,” he says. “Generally, 91% or more of the beef in cold storage is boneless beef, which is primarily made up of grinding beef. As is evident in wholesale beef prices, beef demand remains strong and continues to support higher prices.”


Griffith expects these demand and price trends to continue, keeping beef cold storage numbers lower, although he does anticipate some seasonal increase...