From the feed yard to the checkout line at the grocery store, the record-reaching hike in beef prices is about to take full effect.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meatpackers paid the highest prices for live cattle in major producing states including Texas.
Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA) Market Analyst Jason Slane said, "We're seeing historically high beef and cattle prices. This is driven by a supply and demand issue. The supply issue being we're dealing with the smallest cattle herd since the 1950s."
According to Donnie Seale, Amarillo regional supervisor of United Supermarket, the demand is still there, it's the supply at the ranching level that's hurting local markets. Seale said another factor is harsh weather and little feed because corn prices were at a all time high as well.
"A lot of the small ranchers have gotten out, sold all their herds off so the cattle feed herds are dwindling. They don't have as much as they normally have," Seale said.
Prices jumped in the last thirty days for ranchers, but herds have been depleting since the drought started in 2011. According to the USDA retail beef prices could climb 2.5-3.5 percent in 2014.
"We're getting a 10-25 percent increase on cost, we try to absorb as much of that cost increase but you will see some that passed onto the consumer," Seale said.
Officials at the TCFA which represents cattle feeding in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, said meat prices are going to remain relatively high due to the limited number of cattle, but that there is an upside.
"The good news is the 2014-2015 corn crop received adequate moisture compared to the previous two drought years." Slane said. "Now we're having a corn crop that prices have come off historical heights, and with that we have ample feeding costs that are back down."