Beef cow herd is decreasing due to drought, low profitability

Prepared and written by Jeff Swenson, DATCP Livestock and Meat Specialist. The Market Update draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA NASS and AMS reports.

Cash cattle trade was steady this week as packers entered the market at mid-week. Bids in the Southern U.S. for beef breed steers were mostly $124.00/cwt and mostly $126.00 to $127.00/cwt in the Northern U.S.

The steady prices were also reflected at Wisconsin auction markets this week. Harvest numbers last week were estimated at 624,000 head, 27,000 head less than the previous week. The shortened week due to the Labor Day holiday will impact this week’s harvest numbers.

Kevin Good of CattleFax presented to the Wisconsin Beef Council Board of Directors on Wednesday, Sept. 9 and said the future favors the cow calf producer and feedlot operator.

While the U.S. dairy cow inventory is the largest since 1995, the beef cow herd is decreasing due to drought and low profitability. While beef demand is the highest in 30 years, lower cattle supplies during the next five years should give the farm sector more bargaining power. However, that does not mean the retail price of beef will necessarily increase as cash cattle prices increase.

Good also said that chicken consumption surged during the 1980’s, but beef has grown its market share from 40 to 48 percent since 1998…. Read Full Article |

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