NEW YORK — The drought and weak corn yield this year will lead to higher wholesale protein prices and multiyear effects on the livestock industry, but those increases won’t translate directly to retail prices, according to panelists in the Penton Media webinar “What’s Ahead: Gauging the Drought’s Impact Into 2013” last week.
Climbing corn prices have led protein producers to use 10% less feed, said Corinne Alexander, agricultural economist, Purdue University. Farmers have been raising fewer animals, bringing lighter-weight animals to slaughter and finding different feed sources such as imported corn, barley and even expired Oreo cookies.
If there is a good corn crop next year, Alexander expects expanded chicken production by late 2013, pork in the second half of 2014 and cattle production in 2016. More protein production would bring down wholesale prices.
“How much we grow next summer is absolutely essential,” said Alexander.