Beef Buzz News
Packing Plants Slowly Increasing Capacity But It Could Take Months To Work Off Cattle Back Log, Says KSU's Dr. Glynn Tonsor
Tue, 19 May 2020 09:40:34 CDT
Meat packing plants are slowly increasing capacity, but it could be months before the cattle backlog is vanquished, said Dr. Glynn Tonsor, Kansas State University Extension livestock market economist during recent comments on the K-State Radio Network.
Tonsor said the USDA reported almost 500,000 cattle were harvested last week, an increase from 452,000 the week before but more than 200,000 head below the same period a year ago.
We’re going in the right direction, Tonsor said, hopefully throughout the month of May we will continue to improve.
Tonsor, and Dr. Lee Schulz, livestock economist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, have projected at the end of April more than 500,000 head were ready to be processed but due to plant closures, the cattle were backed up in the feedlots.
If we manage to push over 500,000 head processing the rest of May, then it is possible we start June 1 with under a million head carry over, Tonsor said.
That’s still a lot of cattle, Tonsor said, but it is an improvement.
It could be late summer or early fall before we work off that million head backlog and restore balance to the pipeline.
“Even if we were running at the 660,000 head (weekly slaughter) of a year ago and If I am correct about the carryover, that is more than a full operating week just to deal with the backlog, not the cattle normally coming in the system,” Tonsor said.
The market is reflecting the progress as boxed beef is off the record highs and cash cattle has improved.
“I remain optimistic that if we don’t get more bad news in the next couple of weeks there is support for higher cattle prices,” Tonsor said.
He added price is important, but quantity pushed through the system is just as important right now.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more comments from Dr. Glynn Tonsor.
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