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Beef cow slaughter shift is first indicator of herd expansion

Improved grass conditions in some parts of cattle country combined with higher prices have some cattle producers considering herd expansion.

University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says beef cow slaughter will be one of the first indicators that growth is underway. 

“We’re going to have to really watch what’s the first thing that triggers that says, hey, we’re holding back cows,” he says. “Maybe we get some data there that helps us change our mind as to how fast we can build.”

While some areas could be retaining cows to potentially expand, he tells Brownfield other producers are still in liquidation mode.  

The USDA’s livestock slaughter report comes out Thursday at 3ET/2CT.  

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