Herd Expansion Shows Signs of Slowing, Only Marginal Growth Expected in Next Inventory ReportFri, 04 Jan 2019 10:35:36 CST
The beef industry will get its next update on the number of beef cows in the United States in the annual Cattle Inventory Report, due to be published by the US Department of Agriculture on January 31st - assuming the ongoing partial government shutdown comes to end by then. Katelyn McCullock is the new director of the Livestock Marketing Information Center and she believes this report will show only a marginal increase in that overall beef cow number.
“The number of beef cows that have calved over the last four years has grown, adding about 2.6 million head since 2014,” she said. “But this year we really watched the number of beef cows being slaughtered and the number of heifers, calves and cows entering into the slaughter mix.”
According to McCullock, those beef slaughter numbers are much higher than they have been in the years past. She says that should be taken to mean that producers are looking to slow down this expansionary phase the industry has been in. That evaluation of the current state of the industry is only strengthened, she says, when taking into consideration the level at which cattle prices have been this year and that no major cases of herd liquidation have been reported. Overall, McCullock expects to see an increase of less than one percent year-over-year; perhaps anywhere from zero to half a percent and a January 1, 2019 total of 31.7 to 31.8 million head.
With that, the only question is whether or not that number is adequate to balance supply and demand. McCullock says there are several factors that play into that equation. Much of it, of course, is influenced heavily by macroeconomic factors. She says there are already some expectations that the economy could be headed for a recession in the next year or two. What will come to pass, though, still remains to be seen. But, when it comes to supply and demand - McCullock says it is always much better to play catch up on the supply side than to go the other way.
Listen to McCullock and Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays discuss her expectations for the upcoming USDA Cattle Inventory Report, on today’s Beef Buzz.
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.
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