Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Consumers May Pay Higher Prices for Meat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Consumers May Pay Higher Prices for Meat

Article excerpt

Americans could face sticker shock at the meat counter as a result of a sharply smaller corn and soybean crop this year.

On Thursday, the U.S. Agriculture Department trimmed its estimate of this year's corn harvest to 7.37 bushels, about 2 percent less than its October estimate and 27 percent smaller than last year's record crop. The soybean crop, at 2.18 billion bushels, will be about 13 percent smaller than last year's. Other reports showed that grain reserves are at their lowest point in modern history.

Grain prices first rose, then tailed off in trading on major commodity exchanges. But the Agriculture Department raised its estimate of the price range for corn in the marketing year that ends next Aug. 31. The department said prices should range from $2.95 to $3.35.

Missouri and Illinois also will harvest sharply lower amounts of corn, soybeans and grain sorghum. Farmers blame the smaller crops on a wet spring followed by hot, dry weather in August and early frosts. …

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