Retail beef prices are forecast to jump 7% to 8% in 2011, up from a March forecast of 4.5% to 5.5%. The USDA also projects retail pork prices to climb 6.5% to 7.5%, an increase of half a percentage point from the prior month.
Prices of cattle futures contracts hit an all-time high in early April, while lean-hog futures hit a fresh record last week. The U.S. cattle herd stands at a more than five-decade low, while the U.S. breeding herd for hogs is just above all-time lows.
Meanwhile, grain prices have rallied since last summer on strong demand and disappointing crops around the world that have depleted supplies.
Source: Wall Street Journal