Poor Range Conditions to Impact Cattle Numbers and Price

Poor Range Conditions to Impact Cattle Numbers and Price

Corryn La Rue
Corryn La Rue
The Livestock Information Center’s Director and Senior Agricultural Economist Katelyn McCullock is concerned about what poor conditions will mean for beef cow numbers down the road.

“I can't believe I'm saying this but this year's U.S. pasture and range conditions are worse than they were last year, which is maybe tough to believe and disheartening, but it has moved around a little bit much more centered on the Southern Plains, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, just excessive dryness over that.”

“We haven't seen a ton of lightweight placements in feedlots yet, but that's probably coming. Mostly we've seen it on the cow side and just an extreme number of cows being liquidated. That's actually boosted our total beef production by the sheer number of cows that are moving through the slaughter. And so, from a perspective of what does that do to the calf crop, what are we looking at on July one or January one, you're probably looking at a pretty big decline at this point.”

“Hay isn't going to get any cheaper and unless you get timely rains, pasture and range conditions are in a pretty dire situation already, and were not even through June yet, we're not even through the hottest part of the year. The La Nina forecast is still very much part of the picture and a little worrisome. Unfortunately, it's a fairly bleak outlook.”

While prices may move lower this year because of the increase of beef cattle slaughter, even tighter supplies next year, among several other factors, could move prices higher.

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