CHICAGO (Reuters) - The surge in the price of U.S. corn to a record high above $6 per bushel is pushing up the cost of producing beef, pork and poultry meat.
Corn is the primary source of carbohydrates for livestock and poultry in the United States. Large amounts of the grain are now being used to produce the renewable fuel ethanol.
Here are some facts about feed use and meat costs:
* It takes 1.2 pounds (0.55 kg) of corn to produce one pound of chicken, live weight.
This equates to 8.57 cents’ worth of corn for each pound of live weight chicken meat when corn is $4.00 per bushel, and 12.86 cents when corn is $6 per bushel.
* It takes 3.6 pounds of corn to produce one pound of pork, live weight.
This equates to 25.71 cents’ worth of corn for each pound of live weight pork when corn is $4.00 per bushel, and 38.57 cents when corn is $6 per bushel.
* It takes 6 lbs of corn to produce 1 lb of beef on a live weight basis once a steer or heifer, weighing about 700 lbs, enters a feedlot to be fattened to about 1,250 lbs.
This equates to 42.86 cents’ worth of corn for each pound of live weight beef when corn is $4.00 per bushel, and 64.29 cents per lb when corn is $6 per bushel.
* There are 56 pounds of corn in a bushel. When corn is $4.00 per bushel, a pound of corn is worth 7.1 cents. At $6 per bushel, corn is 10.7 cents per lb.
* Chicago Board of Trade May corn futures hit $6.16 per bushel on April 9, the highest price for a spot contract. On the same day, the July 2009 contract rose to $6.40 per bushel, an all-time high for any CBOT contract.
Sources: Beef Checkoff, Livestock Marketing Information Center, National Pork Board and National Chicken Council.