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Looking for signs of herd expansion

Without the July Cattle Inventory report from the USDA, industry experts are taking a deeper look at the data that is provided for any indication that producers have started retain breeding animals. University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says beef cow slaughter data will show signs of building. But, he says the herd has shrunk significantly. “Normal movement out of the herd is going to result in less cows being slaughtered already,” he says. “We’ve got to talk about 20% reduction in some of these reports before we’re going to start getting serious that maybe we’re holding cows.”

He tells Brownfield he’s watching how much tighter inventory gets, last month the USDA reported cattle placed into feedlots dropped 6 percent on the year. “Placement number will be big,” he says.  “Also, what happens to On Feed inventory when we were below a year ago last month.” Brown says as long as consumer demand holds, the tight supplies should continue to support the record high cash prices.

The USDA’s Livestock Slaughter report comes out Thursday afternoon and Cattle on Feed numbers are out Friday.  

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