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Cattle prices higher than they've been in years

By Chelsea Humphrey, chumphrey@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:00:56 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 08:46:01 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Many say the current price of cattle is higher than they've seen in their lifetime, something you've probably noticed if beef's been on your grocery list lately.

The prices vary based on size and breed but older livestock are currently going for about $1 per pound.

Younger calves are in higher demand right now because ranchers want to graze them on the newly planted wheat. They sell for about $1.50 per pound.

But why are prices so high?

Randy Carson, owner of the Abilene Livestock Auction, said "the prices right now are higher than I've ever seen them and that's just due to the rainfall that we had earlier in the summer and getting some wheat grazing up".

The demand is high, but prices are also soaring because the supply is low.

Because of the drought, cattle raisers were forced to sell off the parts of their herds that they couldn't afford to feed or water.

At the end of October, the USDA said there were 10.1 million head of cattle nationwide. That number is down 8 percent from one year ago.

How long are the prices expected to stay this high?

"The price is gonna stay good I think for another two or three years, especially if we can keep getting the rains, keep the grass coming, we've gotta have something for them to eat," Carson said.