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Old 04-03-2014, 09:21 PM   #1
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 08-24-08
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Default Costco sticker shock!

I've been buying St Louis spares and loin back ribs at RD and at local supermarkets (when on sale) at reasonable prices. But I was shocked to see how much Costco's prices have gone up in a matter of weeks.
St Louis spares @ $3.99/lb
Loin back ribs @ $4.49/lb

Just a month ago I remember paying just over $3/lb for those same baby backs at Costco. I can still get baby backs for around $2.70 at RD.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:25 PM   #2
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That sucks since I love the St Louis spares at Costco.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:31 PM   #3
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I had a similar experience at Costco this week when it came to brisket. Brisket [flat only - no wholes] was $4.69/lb, all cryo packs averaging 5-6lbs. I passed. Went to my local SaveMart and picked up a whole brisket today for $2.99/lb [15-lb cryo pack].

Wonder what's going on with Costco's meat suppliers right now?
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:04 PM   #4
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Brisket at Smart and Final in OC went from $2.59/lb last week to $3.50/lb this week.
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:27 PM   #5
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I got a case of the St. Louis spares from costco, the case price was only 2.59 a lb...I've found buying by the case is much more economical if you can afford it..
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:58 AM   #6
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Saw that yesterday went to Smart and Final and pick up a two back of spare ribs for $1.99 a lb
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:14 AM   #7
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Noticed the price on all pork at Costco went up at least 20% recently... I grabbed 2 cryo's of butts last weekend to make brats and they were $2.35lb... normally $1.79!

On the positive side, a local grocer had baby backs on sale for $2.68lb yesterday... grabbed 8 racks for the freezer!
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:25 AM   #8
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Yep everything is going up it seems. I just got flyers in the mail yesterday and local market had briskey on sale for $4.99/lb. I was like what ?????? but they also had BBs on sale for $2.99/lb and that is worth it to me, at least in my neck if the woods
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:43 AM   #9
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Just read in the local paper the other day that there is a deadly virus going around in the pig community that effects the piglets and the die off has been devastating. There is supposed to be a pork shortage until the female breeders are able to build up enough of a tolerance to the virus to pass it on to the newborns.This could be what is causing the prices to jump. Maybe someone with a little more knowledge of pig farming can pass on more info.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:17 PM   #10
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Chinese buy up the pork and now there is a deadly virus going around. Hmmm....
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hmbrewr View Post
Just read in the local paper the other day that there is a deadly virus going around in the pig community that effects the piglets and the die off has been devastating. There is supposed to be a pork shortage until the female breeders are able to build up enough of a tolerance to the virus to pass it on to the newborns.This could be what is causing the prices to jump. Maybe someone with a little more knowledge of pig farming can pass on more info.
Here's a little more info.

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Old 04-04-2014, 02:11 PM   #12
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Eastern Iowa is getting hit hard. Our local producers are losing about 75% of piglets due to this virus. They are feeding the sow the virus to help build immunity but they say that will take a while. No vaccines for it yet.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:47 PM   #13
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Date: Fri 21 Mar 2014
Source: Farm Forum [edited]

For some consumers, it's all about the price of bacon. For those in the pork industry the higher price for pork comes with a down side that is much more than what's served for breakfast. The prevalence of a disease that is attacking the digestive systems of baby piglets is leaving gaping holes in the supply of pigs that will be slaughtered in the coming months.

"We've seen an increased number of cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) recently," Dr. Oedekoven, South Dakota State Veterinarian said. "The 1st positive case in South Dakota was May of 2013. There have been some cases reported to us here and there. I think more cases are showing up as there is more testing done. We are lucky we are not Iowa."

PEDv is not a human food safety issue; it is an animal health issue that only affects pigs.

There are 1042 pork producers in the state. There have been 20 cases of PEDv reported in South Dakota, mostly in the southeast corner of the state, according to the Oedekoven. Additionally, there have been
15 environmental samples (trucks, foot mats, unloading docks, and other non-animal swabs) identified as positive for PEDv. The map [see source URL] shows where cases have been reported.

"PEDv has a significant economic impact," Oedekoven said. "There is a high death rate in the naive (newborn) population where 80 to 100 percent death losses are reported. The young piglets have no natural immunity and there is no vaccine. It's a pretty terrible recipe.
Biosecurity and sanitation are the tools being used in the industry to prevent the introduction of the disease into herds."

It's difficult to replace the losses. Around 4 million animals have died and news of the continued infections alarms the financial side of the pork industry. There is not a breakdown for the number of animals lost in South Dakota. The 1st North Dakota case was confirmed in a swine herd in the eastern part of the state recently.

"There is no question, the disease will continue to drive the market up," Bob Thaler, SDSU [South Dakota State University] Extension Swine Specialist, said. "A recent report said that some of the packing plants down south are cutting back to 4-day weeks from their 5-day-a-week schedule."

The tight supply of hogs was reflected in the US government's weekly slaughter estimates on Friday [21 Mar 2014]. The US Department of Agriculture estimated Friday's hog slaughter at 360 000 head, down 51
000 head from a week ago [14 Mar 2014].

The map indicates the density of swine farms in the southeastern part of the state. Minnesota and Iowa have a much higher density, which may be related to corporate farming laws. Oedekoven says that, perhaps because of the lower density of swine farms in South Dakota, the impact on the state is more widely spread apart.

"There are so many unknown factors about the disease and how it's transmitted," Glenn Muller, Executive Director of the South Dakota Pork Producers, said. "Even those using the highest levels of biosecurity to minimize their exposure are affected."

>From the semi-trucks to the shoe coverings, everything is being

Biosecurity involves making sure the swine barn is clean and virus-free and establishing a line of separation between the clean area (the barn) and the dirty area (anywhere outside the barn).

"It really comes down to a clean-dirty line and biosecurity,"
Oedekoven said. "Every effort is made to mitigate possible contamination. Potential sources come from hauling live pigs to market to the feed vehicles stopping at each farm. It also may be the rendering trucks or other producers. It's all subject to scrutiny as a possible source for the disease."

"We are all learning about it," Oedekoven said. "We want to know how to prevent PEDv from spreading. The whole science community is learning a lot. It may be 6 weeks or 6 months or 6 years before we have better recommendations on how to contain it."

As the concerns grow, those in the business are stepping up biosecurity but it sometimes is not enough. The PEDv spreads very easily through swine fecal matter. Thaler said that some operators have built their own truck washes. In addition to washing and disinfecting the trucks, it's important to dry the vehicle as well.
That can either be at 75 degrees for a week or at 160 degrees for 10 minutes.

"The virus is so virulent that one tablespoon of the virus could infect every pig in the United States," Thaler said. "PEDv is so new that there's not a lot of science on it. That makes it tough. It's a new disease and responds differently than anything else."

The virus causes severe diarrhea, dehydration and vomiting in pigs.
Once the disease hits, the sow passes the virus on to the piglets.
They don't have much reserve fat. They depend on the sow for nutrition. They quit nursing, start scouring, and then dehydrate.
Since they're not getting the milk from the sow, it really hits hard and almost all die.

"Once pigs are weaned, death losses are not very high," Thaler explained. "That's why it's so hard to get an estimate on the numbers of losses. We don't know if an affected farm had 5 pigs, 500 pigs or
5000 pigs; 6 months down the road is when the holes will show up in numbers heading to the packing plant."

A sow will build immunity to the disease and hopefully she'll be resistant to the disease, but it's not certain. Some are taking measures to boost the immunity of the survivors, hoping to make the animals resistant if the disease comes through again.

Mitch Trubenbach owns Agriswine Alliance, a hog management company based in Hecla. He is very concerned about PEDv and has responded with extra biosecurity and extra washing of trucks that are used in the operation.

Since the disease is thought to be spread by tracking fecal matter, measures have changed. Trubenbach said they have totally cleaned everything.

"We used to have people come in to pump out the (manure) pits,"
Trubenbach said. "Now we have our own truck. We're doing whatever we can to keep the disease out of our system." Trubenbach said purchasing the equipment to get rid of the manure cost from USD 500 000 to USD
600 000, but that keeps outside pumpers out of the sites.

He noted that the previous all-time high for market hogs was set in April 2013 at USD 108 on the futures market. Now it's approaching USD 118.

The company has also made changes in the way animals are fed. There is some concern about porcine or dried blood products that are sometimes part of the hog feed. Trubenbach says they've eliminated any use of that.

"My heart breaks for those in the industry," Thaler said. "Pork producers are doing a great job. They've struggled with high feed prices in the past few years. Now when things could start to turn around for some of them, they are facing an unknown future. It has the potential to take some producers out of the pork business."

In the past few weeks, there have been some strong outbreaks in South Dakota. There is some breakdown of the system that the disease is getting through the biosecurity systems. Those involved are using the highest levels of maintaining a clean herd, yet they are ending up with sick pigs, Muller said.

"The disease knows no boundaries," Muller said. "From the very small independents to big operations, if PEDV gets in their herds, it can have devastating effects. In cases with other hog diseases such as hog cholera or pseudorabies, it was eventually eradicated. The best thing for the pork industry is to have a vaccine developed. We certainly hope that will alleviate concerns with the disease. Research is concentrated on developing that, but it takes time and it's an expensive process."

In South Dakota, about 2.1 to 2.3 million hogs are sent to market each year. "At this point, we really don't know how many animals have been affected," Muller said. "It will depend on how the disease migrates.
We really don't know how severe the losses are at this time."

At the present time, Muller said it is not known whether the new farm bill's livestock indemnity program will include help for the hog farmers who have had losses.

"It's a lot like a drought," Muller said. "Some places are affected and others are not. If you've lost all of your production and the price goes up, you don't benefit. Each operation is impacted differently. Those who don't have the disease may benefit from higher prices. To those who have lost their production, the price is immaterial as they won't have hogs to sell."

The industry anticipates that hog inventories will be down 10 to 15 percent this summer [2014]. That likely will push prices up. Higher prices for hogs are good, but not at this cost to the industry.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:55 PM   #14
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As the weather starts to improve and we get close to summer prices will steadily increase as the demand increases. Happens every year.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:33 PM   #15
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Lately choice brisket flats have been $5.99/lb at at my Costco. I think last summer I was getting prime flats for $3.99 (I never see whole packers there). That isn't good compared to the prices I've seen posted here, but better than choice @ $5.99. I renewed my Costco membership mainly so I could buy meat, but I haven't bought much in the last 3 months.
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