Beef prices are expected to increase as demand remains high and cattle numbers in Texas have decreased due to drought conditions in the South this summer. The Associated Press writes the drought has caused the largest-ever one-year decline in the United State’s leading cattle state.

As a result of the shrinking inventories, beef prices are expected to increase by 5.5 percent next year. National and global demand will prevent prices from falling and herd sizes will take a while to recover as more dry weather is in the forecast.

As 2011 comes to a close, the number of cows in Texas has decreased by 600,000. The decline is 12 percent of the state’s roughly 5 million cows. Some cows were slaughtered early while others were moved north to graze pastures.

David Anderson of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service expects beef production to fall by 4 percent next year.

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Source: The Associated Press