Beef cattle prices are high right now, but not quite as high as had been expected.

U. S. Department of Agriculture  Outlook Chairman, Gerry Bange says beef processors are complaining of negative processing margins, so they aren't bidding as high for cattle. As a result, Bange says, the price forecast for steers has dropped by a dollar to $125.82. That's still $11.00  higher than in 2011, mainly because of very low cattle inventories.

He says beef production will be down another 4 percent this year and he forecasts another drop next year which should mean, "very, very, strong steer prices, $129.50 per hundred weight. That's an increase of about 3 percent from 2012 and getting up into some pretty strong numbers there."

Bange says that low cattle inventory and high price could continue into 2014.