Weather and economics could accelerate contraction
The USDA’s latest Cattle Inventory report points to at least some contraction in the cattle industry continuing. The total number of beef cows dropped nearly a percent in July’s Cattle Inventory report, signaling small reductions in cattle numbers.
But, University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says contraction could be accelerated by two factors. One of those is weather. “We have some dry parts in the US that I think could affect cow inventory,” he says. “I happily sit in what’s been a good place in terms of not seeing a lot of dry weather. But, I know we’re seeing some drought issues in some parts of the country.”
He tells Brownfield the other is the ability for cattle prices to recover. “What are those feeder cattle going to be worth for the remainder of 2020 and does that get folks to change,” he says. “Because we’re still talking about cattle prices that will be below year-ago levels. I think it’s going to make folks take a hard look at their operations.”
The USDA’s next Cattle Inventory report comes out in January.