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Beef prices at record high with barbeque season at risk

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Breaking out the grill? You might want to check the beef prices first.

According to a recent CNN report, beef prices are at a record high, which could mean putting out a few more dollars for the Spring barbeque.

According to the article, "The price of a pound of ground beef has hit $3.55 a pound, a record high even when adjusted for inflation, according to government readings for February. That's up 56% since 2010. The average for round steak is at $5.28, among the highest prices seen in the last 20 years..."

The news comes just as the weather breaks for many places in the country. But all is not lost, as retail show signs the economy is warming up. Retail and food services sales were $433.9 billion, a 1.1 percent increase from Feb. 2014 and 3.8 percent higher than March of last year, reports the U.S. Commerce Dept. The same report also indicated General merchandise stores saw a 0.1 decrease from last year's spending.

READ: Retail Beef Performance FreshLook Marketing and USDA Market News February 2014 Highlights

How this will affect the prices of major beef processors will take time. Tyson's Foods (NYSE:TSN), the country's biggest meat processor, reported in late January a 47 percent rise in first-quarter profit, helped by a rise in sales of chicken and beef. That hasn't been the case for others, such as Cargill Inc., who reported earlier this month net earnings of $319 million for the quarter ended Feb. 28, down from $445 million a year earlier.

And while many consumers have taken their time to purchase the new grill (or break out their old one), that will not change the possibility of smaller burgers, or no burgers at all.

A Possible Choice

Daniel Vaughn,barbecue editor for Texas Monthly, says there are some cheaper beef cuts that will still taste good, with a little more effort. He recommends beef chuck short ribs, beef back ribs and shoulder clod, a less tender shoulder cut.

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