“Future cattle prices could hinge on weather and subsequent grazing availability and/or input costs such as grain,” said Dr. David Anderson in one of his latest interviews with Morning Ag Clips.
The future of cattle and beef prices hinges on the long-term size of the U.S. herd according to Anderson. While the price of calves remains strong and even though the market has experienced recent increases, Anderson expects the herds to continue to shrink.
While there has been no real change in beef demand, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 28.3 million pounds of beef was produced in 2022 along with 544 million pounds of beef in cold storage.
The high costs of grains and other supplemental feed coupled with the drought have left many areas across the State that are continuing to reduce their cattle numbers. The U.S. Drought Monitor states that 77% of Texas is dealing with some degree of drought.
Anderson said that the drought is not over in Texas until everyone decides it is, and until that happens the Texas herds won’t begin expanding. He doesn’t expect price increases to happen until the herds are rebuilt. This is based on our current scenario likely to play out like the last statewide drought in 2011. Anderson reminds us that prices were strong after 2012 but by 2015, calf prices were setting all-time records as ranchers moved to rebuild their herds while taking advantage of the strong consumer demand and reduced supply, which in turn drove beef prices upward.
While an increase in beef prices may be coming, if history repeats itself, it may be a few years before we see those prices.
“People are still buying beef, and that’s a good thing” – Anderson.
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