Beef prices surge as cold weather rolls in

Cattle await sale.

According to cattle rancher Ken Lenox, when the weather is 14 degrees below zero, the worst place to put his cattle is in a barn.

"They'll get to sweatin' a little bit if there's no draft or anything, and then you go outside and that's when you get pneumonia," Lenox, a fifth generation cattle rancher, says. "Snow's like this is an expensive snow."  

With his grass frozen, Lenox and his team are hauling about 16 bales a day, each weighing about a thousand pounds.

Lenox says despite the cold (and one troublesome bull) his ranch is in good shape.

Cattle prices have hit record highs with reduced herds due to weather conditions and the increase cost of feed.

"Two or three years looking down the road we're going to have to build back numbers, and that's a slow process. You can build numbers real quick with chickens hogs, and other things," says the Rolla, Missouri native. "It's easier to create a pound of chicken than a pound of beef at lightning speed."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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I feel sad that the cattle are being treated as commodities, but to be honest, with the demand that there is for the meat, it's quite difficult for them to blame them for purely being concerned with the pricing. I just hope that in Australia there's slightly less to worry about weather fluctuations.

I was listening to Ky speak to that cattle rancher, Lenox, this evening. Lenox spoke about his "mama" cattle and how he was going to sell the babies in the spring. This conversation was apalling. It is a cruel, despicable practice; the raising and breeding of gentle, intelligent, sensitive mother cows, only to take their babies and sell them off to be slaughtered at market for a monetary price. The murder of cows for human consumption is a completely unnecessary, criminal practice and should not be encouraged as though it is perfectly normal! Mother cows want only to nurture and nurse their babies and the industry takes the female babies from their mother the moment they are born and sentences them to a life of continual pregnancy (artifically inseminated) hooked up to machines so that their milk can be sold to humans, even though it is only meant for baby calves. The male babies are sold for veal, chained by the neck, unable to move in tiny crates.

"They'll get to sweatin' a little bit if there's no draft or anything, and then you go outside and that's when you get pneumonia."

Your rancher may be a fifth-generation rancher, but he's neither a doctor nor a veternarian. And your interviewer is not a journalist.

Pneumonia, like the common cold, does NOT come from getting cold or chilled. It comes from micro-organisms.

That this ignorance went over the air should, and I hope WILL, be an embarrasment.

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