CattleFax forecasts U.S. herd continuing to shrink at least one more year | TSLN.com

CattleFax forecasts U.S. herd continuing to shrink at least one more year

The continuing trend toward a smaller U.S. beef cattle herd, made worse by this year’s devastating drought, will continue for at least another year before numbers stabilize and perhaps shift toward expansion, according to CattleFax senior analyst Kevin Good.

Good said recently that U.S. cow slaughter so far this year is up 27 percent over the same period last year. Almost all those cattle are from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma – states hit hardest by drought. The most severe drought area, Good said, contains 10 million cows, or one-third of the U.S. total herd. Cow slaughter in other parts of the country has dropped off somewhat this year.

Good said cow numbers are likely to begin stabilizing by 2013 or 2014, meaning cow slaughter, and beef production, will decline. Stabilization, he said, will require a reduction in annual cow slaughter of about 1 million head. In addition, fewer heifers will move through feedyards as they return to breeding herds. This year, heifers account for about 36 percent of cattle placed into feedyards, while in expansion years they typically account for about 32 percent.

CattleFax expects U.S. steer and heifer slaughter this year to decline about by 200,000 head compared with last year. For 2012 they expect another year-over-year decline of about 300,000 head. By 2013, with more heifers remaining in breeding herds, steer and heifer slaughter could decline by another 600,000 head.

This year, per-capita U.S. beef supply is about 57.4 pounds. That is likely to decline to 56.3 pounds next year and to 53.7 pounds by 2013 as fewer heifers go to slaughter.

The continuing trend toward a smaller U.S. beef cattle herd, made worse by this year’s devastating drought, will continue for at least another year before numbers stabilize and perhaps shift toward expansion, according to CattleFax senior analyst Kevin Good.

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Good said recently that U.S. cow slaughter so far this year is up 27 percent over the same period last year. Almost all those cattle are from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma – states hit hardest by drought. The most severe drought area, Good said, contains 10 million cows, or one-third of the U.S. total herd. Cow slaughter in other parts of the country has dropped off somewhat this year.

Good said cow numbers are likely to begin stabilizing by 2013 or 2014, meaning cow slaughter, and beef production, will decline. Stabilization, he said, will require a reduction in annual cow slaughter of about 1 million head. In addition, fewer heifers will move through feedyards as they return to breeding herds. This year, heifers account for about 36 percent of cattle placed into feedyards, while in expansion years they typically account for about 32 percent.

CattleFax expects U.S. steer and heifer slaughter this year to decline about by 200,000 head compared with last year. For 2012 they expect another year-over-year decline of about 300,000 head. By 2013, with more heifers remaining in breeding herds, steer and heifer slaughter could decline by another 600,000 head.

This year, per-capita U.S. beef supply is about 57.4 pounds. That is likely to decline to 56.3 pounds next year and to 53.7 pounds by 2013 as fewer heifers go to slaughter.

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