U.S. Herd Numbers 7-Year Low
As of January 1st, the beef cow herd totaled 30.1 million head, down 2 percent from last year. Cow calf pairs total 91.9 million head, also down 2 percent.
CattleFax’s VP of Industry Relations Kevin Good…
“The total cattle herd is down close to 3 million head. So, from a long-term perspective, we should see tighter supplies as we go forward.”
Good says the current cattle on feed numbers doesn’t promise longevity.
“We still do have quite a few cattle on feed, as of this year it is record large, and a big part of that is the continued drought. Where we continue to pull feeder cow and calf supplies forward because we don’t have outside feed. We are kind of front-end loaded from a supply standpoint, but less cattle in the pipeline means tighter supplies as we go forward.”
Although December brought rain, January’s lack of precipitation worries producers.
“Until that weather pattern changes, unfortunately we’ll probably continue to see some contraction in the beef cow herd again this year.”
However, Good says coming months could bring some much-needed rain.
“Hopefully the pattern will change and we can grow some beef, if that’s the case we feel that prices will be stout enough to start going the other direction, and start rebuilding the herd again. But unfortunately, mother nature is going to have to change stripes before we get that done.”