Reports signal continued contraction in the cow herd
A livestock economist says higher beef cow slaughter numbers and an increase in females headed to the feedyard are signaling more signs of contraction in the cow herd.
University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says weather was likely a big factor. “We’ve had a lot of dry weather,” he says. “If you look at pasture conditions, they’re some of the worst that we’ve seen as of late since we’ve been keeping that information. I think that’s got some folks in a liquidation mode that otherwise might not be.”
He tells Brownfield the current drought is much different than the 2012 drought and that could make a difference in the long run. “Maybe there’s more dry weather to the North this time than there was in 2021,” he says. “But some of the main corn-growing areas, I won’t say they’re fine, but they’re not hurting as bad as we would have seen in 2012.”
Brown says beef cow slaughter was up 11% compared to year ago levels.
Both cattle placed in April and On Feed May 1 were slightly above pre-report expectations.