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Burger Costs Rising With Beef Supply At 21-Year Low

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-31/burger-costs-rising-with-beef-supply-at-21-year-low-commodities.html

U.S. beef production is plunging to a 21-year low after surging feed costs spurred ranchers to cut herds, signaling record prices for consumers and higher costs for buyers from McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Production in the U.S. will decline 4.9 percent to 10.93 million metric tons in 2014, retreating for a fourth year, the government says. The herd on July 1 was the smallest for that date since at least 1973, according to the average of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The most-active cattle futures will rise 6.1 percent to $1.33 a pound next year, a level last seen in February, the median of nine forecasts shows.

The burgerless recovery.

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You'd never have guessed from the name.

Yeah, I think they were a bit short of imagination at the time. The place itself has very imaginative street names A, B, C, D etc. Positively Einsteinian really, less time wasted thinking about inconsequential names for things means more time to think about the cows..

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Make your own. Lean beef mince offer from Lidl last weekend £1 for 500g, eggs, onion and seasoning. Simples.

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Two quid a kilo? I'm sure it's fine, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to eat beef that cheap. I normally buy chuck steak from the butcher and mince it myself at home. It costs about eight quid a kilo. Not cheap, though full of flavour and not pumped with water, so you use less (or you would if you weren't greedy like me).

I appreciate this makes me sound like a Guardian reading middle class git.

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Without wanting to sound like the propagandist for veganism I occasionally come across as, meat production is one of the most extraordinarily inefficient ways of producing nutrition for human beings ever devised. Giving over vast quantities of arable land and water (most of which has to be transported to the land at vast cost) to raising cows, and then eating the cows (or in the case of dairy eating their excrement), uses something like 20x more land and 70x more water to produce the typical protein input for a human being as producing it for them by growing the equivalent directly in vegetables, e.g. mushrooms, peppers, spinach, almonds or soybeans. Factory farming (e.g. the use of nitrogen-based fertilisers) and economies of scale (e.g. pink slime) have pushed the cost down to the consumer a bit, but the bottom line is that meat is a fundamentally expensive form of food. And because beef farming depends so heavily on fossil fuel-based fertilisers and the transportation of large quantities of water, its price is going to vary a lot according to energy costs.

I find it interesting how very few people would regard owning a BMW, a seven-bedroom house in a desirable location or going on five long-haul holidays a year as being life's essentials, but were I to express the view that eating red meat is a roughly comparable luxury, I'd probably be dismissed as an extremist loon.

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Without wanting to sound like the propagandist for veganism I occasionally come across as, meat production is one of the most extraordinarily inefficient ways of producing nutrition for human beings ever devised. Giving over vast quantities of arable land and water (most of which has to be transported to the land at vast cost) to raising cows, and then eating the cows (or in the case of dairy eating their excrement), uses something like 20x more land and 70x more water to produce the typical protein input for a human being as producing it for them by growing the equivalent directly in vegetables, e.g. mushrooms, peppers, spinach, almonds or soybeans. Factory farming (e.g. the use of nitrogen-based fertilisers) and economies of scale (e.g. pink slime) have pushed the cost down to the consumer a bit, but the bottom line is that meat is a fundamentally expensive form of food. And because beef farming depends so heavily on fossil fuel-based fertilisers and the transportation of large quantities of water, its price is going to vary a lot according to energy costs.

I find it interesting how very few people would regard owning a BMW, a seven-bedroom house in a desirable location or going on five long-haul holidays a year as being life's essentials, but were I to express the view that eating red meat is a roughly comparable luxury, I'd probably be dismissed as an extremist loon.

humans don't do so well without some meat.

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Make your own. Lean beef mince offer from Lidl last weekend £1 for 500g, eggs, onion and seasoning. Simples.

...and about five times as expensive as making your own beanburgers (which have the added benefits of zero concerns about production and welfare).

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Without wanting to sound like the propagandist for veganism I occasionally come across as, meat production is one of the most extraordinarily inefficient ways of producing nutrition for human beings ever devised.

To a degree. Most of what you say certainly applies to beef production, but less so to other meat. Pigs have traditionally been efficient when they were allowed to eat swill - sadly factory farming has killed that concept. And there are parts of the country where meat production is reasonably efficient compared with arable - for example, raising sheep on the mountains of Cumbria. I think you'd be hard pressed to grow soybean there.

Plus, most people are inefficient with their consumption of meat. Eating all of an animal, including the cheaper cuts, and making stock with the bones, makes an animal go much further. We get three family meals out of a chicken. Our butcher sells wild rabbit, and we're overrun with rabbits round here so that has negligible environmental impact.

I believe a lot of vegan food eaten in the UK is imported, and some of it comes from environmentally dubious sources (eg soybean from South America)?

It's definitely not as simple as you seem to imply.

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...and about five times as expensive as making your own beanburgers (which have the added benefits of zero concerns about production and welfare).

bristolhunter makes happybean sad.

happybean_en.gif

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