ASF affecting the price you pay for a drive-thru cheeseburger

by | Dec 31, 2019 | 5 Ag Stories, News, Trade Talk 2019

When you think about African Swine Fever (ASF), you probably don?t think about what impact it is having on beef. That?s right, I said beef. The fact of the matter is that ASF has caused and is causing a chain reaction throughout the global meat markets. It is affecting everything, including that drive-thru cheeseburger you just had.

Don Close is with Rabo AgriFinance. He talks about this chain reaction ASF is having on beef in a broader overview.

Close says estimates are that 55% of the Chinese pork breeding herd has been lost to ASF. Close says we can expect probably another 10-15% in 2020. So, while it appears to be slowing, the damage is still being done.

Some estimates say that China will need five years to recover. Close says he feels a 5-year estimate is optimistic. He feels 10 in more realistic. Close says that descriptions of this outbreak being a once in a century event is accurate.

So how does this affect beef availability here in the United States? The Quick Serve Restaurants (QSRs) are seeing the need to change their price structure due to the consumption of other proteins to make up for the pork lost in China?s production. It is affecting what you pay at the drive-thru.

Close says demand for beef is very good in 2019. If this demand continues in 2020, the price will continue to be affected.

Close says it is hard to gauge when this will begin to settle. There are many factors at play here.

If you thought that ASF was just a Chinese problem, look at how much more you are paying for that burger at the drive-thru.