Where’s the beef? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s semiannual inventory report confirmed expectations of lower beef cattle numbers. Total U.S. cattle inventories Jan. 1 were 92.6 million head, down 1.4 percent from a year ago and the lowest since 1958. The reduction was driven by a jump in beef cow slaughter in 2010 — the largest since 1996. A combination of factors such as sharply higher feed prices, surging consumer demand for ground beef and a sharp decline in beef ...

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