Challenges continue for cattle producers

An ag economist says drought conditions, input costs, and demand concerns are some of the issues plaguing the nation’s cattle producers. University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says Friday’s Cattle on Feed numbers will provide insight as to how the industry is reacting.  “We’ll continue to be focused on what happens to placements and how tight they get as we look ahead,” he says.  “And we’re kind of starting to set the stage for beef production in the second half of 2023 at the end of the day.”

He tells Brownfield there was a glimmer of hope for input costs in the latest Supply and Demand report from the USDA.  “USDA is projecting $4.80 a bushel corn price for what we harvest this fall,” he says.  “That compares to what is a $6.60 for the current year that we’re in, so lower corn prices.”

But on the flip side, Brown says hay prices will likely be a source of pain for producers again this year. “Sitting here in mid-Missouri, where we’re pretty dry right now, it all matters what happens going forward in terms of rainfall,” he says. “More and more, we need timely rainfall during the growing season because we don’t have any reserves to really keep that grass and hay growing in front of us.”

He says other parts of cattle country – Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma are also still battling extreme drought conditions.

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