Colorado Cattlemen Recovering Well
Despite complications from COVID-19 and wildfire in 2020, The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association says they count themselves lucky in a lot of ways.
Executive Vice President Terry Frankhauser tells Colorado Ag Today the beef industry did a good job adjusting to the pandemic noting that it had never experienced anything like it before.
“We thought we would have back up in our supply chain of harvestable cattle potentially even into the first of the year. Nearly as we can tell by having conversations with different sizes and locations of cattle feeders, that back up is virtually non-existent today. So the processing side was able to overcome that much more timely than we anticipated, which is great news as we’re looking at fall runs of calf crops being sold. Because that certainly could have had significant price implications.”
That is true nationally as well. Packers continue to make gains on the processing of fed cattle., the pace of fed cattle slaughtered appears to have risen above year-ago levels for the first time since March. The pace of slaughter is estimated at almost 1 percent above August 2019.*
Frankhauser says good coordination with emergency command centers allowed ranchers to move and evacuate livestock during the height of the wildfires which kept deaths to a minimum. Producers near Glenwood Springs moved a couple of thousand head of cattle out of harm’s way in just days. In Grand Junction, the fire moved faster, but ranchers were able to relocate cattle without having to evacuate.
*Based on USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) data for the actual and estimated slaughter of steers and heifers in August.