Beef Industry to Make Slow Turn

Beef Industry to Make Slow Turn

The beef cattle numbers in the United States started to drop off not with the drought of 2012 - nor even two years prior to that when the grasslands withered away in Texas and Oklahoma. It was much further back - says Purdue Extension Ag Economist Chris Hurt

Hurt: “The number of beef animals has been in a downward spiral since 2007 due to drought which has ravaged pastures and due to high feed prices of corn, soybean meal and forages. Now prospects are brightening for a renewal of those pastures and for a welcomed reduction in feed prices.”
Hurt says pastures around the nation have improved. Three particular regions he noted are the SouthEast, the Mid-West and the Northern Plains.

Hurt: “Beef cattle operations in some parts of the country are probably getting ready to retain heifers where the pastures have been restored.”

However - Hurt says there are other parts of the nation which have not yet recovered enough from the dry weather conditions to support an increase in the size of the herd.

So Hurt says the beef cattle expansion in the United States will be low and slow. He says ranchers know retaining heifers to become brood cows is a long term investment. And he says they will want proof more profitable times have returned before making any major financial commitments. 

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