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Beef Buzz News

OSU's Derrell Peel says Tighter Cattle Numbers Going Forward are Inevitable at This Point

Mon, 25 Jul 2022 09:09:45 CDT

OSU's Derrell Peel says Tighter Cattle Numbers Going Forward are Inevitable at This Point Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays caught up with OSU extension livestock economist, Derrell Peel on Friday afternoon after the USDA’s mid-year cattle inventory report was released. Peel reflects on the report and talks about what the next few months might look like for the cattle industry.

“This report, of course, gives us a national snapshot of the broader industry in total,” Peel said. “The all cattle and calves inventory was down 2 percent from a year ago.”

One of the things that stood out the most, Peel said, was that the beef cow number was down a full 3 percent, which was bigger than most expectations.

“That puts the cow herd down on a numbers basis of 950,000 head less than a year ago,” Peel said. “The beef replacement heifers also were down 3.5 percent.”

Beef replacement heifers being down, Peel said, means that producers have gotten rid of many cows and don’t have many heifers to work with.

“On the dairy side, the dairy cattle inventory was down just slightly at .5 percent,” Peel said. “But the dairy replacement heifers were down 6.3 percent. So, on the dairy side, they apparently are not holding heifers in anticipation of building numbers either.”

Looking at other categories such as other heifers or steers over 500 pounds and calves under 500 pounds, Peel said if you add all of those up and subtract the feedlot inventory, what is left is the estimated feeder supply. The feeder supply, he added, is down sharply from a year ago.

“We are going to see tighter cattle numbers going forward- that is inevitable at this point in the cow herd- the breeding herd if you will, is getting smaller,” Peel said. “The pre-report estimates for this, on average, did not have the beef cow herd down quite this much, and so I think this comes in to emphasize that we have already liquidated more cows.”

Peel said he thinks we will see the beef cow herd down a million head or more.

“It could be 1.1-1.2 million head by the time we get to January 1,” Peel said. “That is a big decrease. We are down about 1.5 or 1.6 million head in total from the peak in 2019.”

Coming into 2022, Peel said we were down 1.6 million head in beef cows. That number has probably gone down by another million or more going into 2023, he added.

For producers who are trying to decide what to do as far as cutting some of the cows from the herd, Peel said these are extremely tough and emotional decisions.

“I think there is a couple of things you have to keep in mind,” Peel said. “One is that at this point in time, you have to be sort of realistic that even if we get some rain here in the last part of the summer, how much forage are we really going to grow.”

Peel said we will grow some forage, but we aren’t going to make up for the loss of pasture and hay we have endured so far.

“That is the basis that you make those decisions on, and then when it comes to culling decisions on a herd-by-herd basis, you kind of work from both ends of the herd,” Peel said. “Obviously, if you’ve got old cows, you cull them sooner rather than later, and maybe some of the older cows that wouldn’t necessarily have to be culled but they are marginal and maybe they are next in line for culling.”

If a producer can’t keep all the cows they have, Peel recommends not keeping as many replacement heifers.

“You don’t have the feed to develop them properly anyways,” Peel said.

The last resort would be culling the proven cows with several years of productivity left, Peel said, but mainly producers need to focus on putting themselves in a position to be able to rebuild afterward when conditions improve.

To view the USDA’s Mid-Year Cattle Inventory Report Released Friday, July 22, Click Here.

Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Derrell Peel reacting to the USDA’s Mid -Year Cattle Inventory Report.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Derrell Peel on USDA's Mid-Year Cattle Inventory Report
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