Analysts say that despite an increase in the number of cattle in feedlots in August, the U.S. may face as much as a 4 percent decline in beef supplies in 2012. The decline will likely result in increased beef prices for consumers, reports the Des Moines Register.

The increase of cattle in feedlots can be traced to the severe Texas drought. Des Moines cattle trader Kevin Penner of Ag Trader Talk said: “The drought was so bad down in Texas that they were selling every creature they had. That’s good for supply in the short run, but we’ll be breeding fewer animals next year.”

Once those animals have been sold off and slaughtered, Nelson added, beef supplies will be lower by as much as 4 percent by mid-2012.

Retail prices for beef have risen anywhere from 5 percent for choice steaks to 25 percent for hamburger this year. The latest USDA survey of wholesale prices shows the beef cutout price up almost 17 percent from a year ago.

Source: Des Moines Register