Tighter supplies of cattle for the rest of 2023

A livestock economist says supplies of cattle will get tighter as the year progresses.

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says placements were down 72,000 head in total.  “When you start looking at some of the weight categories, 700- pounds and less about 40,000 of the 70,000 down,” he says. “So lighter-weight, placements, which keeps reminding me to say this is all to come in terms of lower slaughter-ready cattle.  And we’re just starting to see the real signs of that.”

He tells Brownfield if weather conditions and profitability for producers improve, there is the chance the supply of slaughter-ready cattle shrinks even more.  “If producers decided to retain heifers, and I’m not suggesting you get a big bump there, but if they were to decide that strategy, it gets even tighter as we get later into 2023,” he says.  But, Brown says he doesn’t anticipate profitability getting to levels that a significant number of producers begin expanding.

The latest Cattle on Feed report from the USDA had On Feed numbers for February 1 at 95.9 of year-ago levels.  Cattle placed in January came in at 96.4 of year-ago levels.  Both were near the midpoint of pre-report estimates. 

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