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Agricultural News

Cattle Inventory Report Likely to Show Further Declines, Jim Robb Says

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 12:48:55 CST

Cattle Inventory Report Likely to Show Further Declines, Jim Robb Says

Last July’s USDA Cattle Inventory Report fell to the budget ax due to sequestration. Without that mid-year snapshot on the health of the U.S. cattle industry, Jim Robb, executive director of the Livestock Market Information Center, says the next report due out January 31 is likely to show the nation’s cow herd is still declining.

“We do expect some herd contraction here as of January 1, 2014. Again, 2013 was kind of the ‘Tale of Two Markets.’ So, if we look at the year overall, it’s rather clear that beef cow slaughter was very large on an average annual basis even though it pulled back in the fourth quarter.

“Heifer slaughter was very large. It appears that heifers initially planned to go into the replacement herd in early 2013 actually shifted over to the slaughter mix as the year progressed.

“So, if we look at the Cattle Inventory report overall, we’re expecting year-to-year declines as of January 1, 2014.”

Robb says he expects an overall inventory decline of about two percent and a beef cow decline of from one-and-a-half to two percent. He said that number is likely to be offset, however, with an increase in heifer calves.

“We do expect that the number of heifer calves born in 2013 will inflate the number of heifers held for beef cow replacements. And that category could be up maybe three, maybe four percent above a year ago.”

“So, I think we will see the industry, again, trying to take that step forward towards stabilizing the herd and starting the rebuilding process, but it’s going to be what really happens here in 2014 that would cause that to come into play.”

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