Livestock economist says robust expansion of the cattle herd still isn’t happening

A livestock economist says the latest Cattle on Feed report from the USDA indicates the herd still isn’t growing. University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says, “I think we’re going to keep getting tighter.”

He says beef cow slaughter also slowed this month. “But it’s not a strong enough signal in my book yet to suggest that we’re really building,” he says. “It’s not surprising to see lower beef cow slaughter when inventories have been moving lower here of late.”

Which, he says, could indicate prices might move even higher.

He tells Brownfield if producers haven’t implemented a risk management strategy, now is the time. “In the 2014/2015 period, it was amazing how quickly we went from inventory of 37 or 38 percent of cattle on feed inventory being heifers to 31,” he says. “Those switches can happen relatively quickly.”

Cattle placements in April were 94.2% of one year ago, and cattle on feed, May 1st, were 99.1% of last year.  

Weekly Livestock Market Update with University of Missouri’s Scott Brown

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