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Tim Petry: Cattle cycle alive and well, but will look different

The cattle marketing cycle is alive and well, but it will look a bit different from what it did in the past. That’s what North Dakota State University (NDSU) livestock marketing specialist Tim Petry told producers in Jamestown, ND recently at an NDSU Outlook meeting.

With the unprecedented liquidation that has hit the cattle markets for the past several years, there are many who are claiming the cattle cycle is dead, but Petry said that’s not the case.

In the old cycle, “prices were always high at the beginning of the decade and they were low in the years ending in five,” Petry explained. “So what I am doing now is shifting that cycle half a decade. Now, years ending in five are going to be high and the beginning to the decade being low. That means we are building up now to 2015, which should be the high point in this cattle cycle; we are currently coming out of the low, which occurred in 2009.”



Another factor will be the change in cattle numbers in a cycle won’t be as dramatic as it has been in the past. The industry is going to see moderation in those numbers, both in terms of expansion and liquidation, he said. The one element that could especially change the liquidation numbers would be a widespread drought.

“I don’t care how high the prices are, if it’s dry we are going to see a drop in cattle numbers in those dry areas,” he said.



The cattle marketing cycle is alive and well, but it will look a bit different from what it did in the past. That’s what North Dakota State University (NDSU) livestock marketing specialist Tim Petry told producers in Jamestown, ND recently at an NDSU Outlook meeting.

With the unprecedented liquidation that has hit the cattle markets for the past several years, there are many who are claiming the cattle cycle is dead, but Petry said that’s not the case.

In the old cycle, “prices were always high at the beginning of the decade and they were low in the years ending in five,” Petry explained. “So what I am doing now is shifting that cycle half a decade. Now, years ending in five are going to be high and the beginning to the decade being low. That means we are building up now to 2015, which should be the high point in this cattle cycle; we are currently coming out of the low, which occurred in 2009.”

Another factor will be the change in cattle numbers in a cycle won’t be as dramatic as it has been in the past. The industry is going to see moderation in those numbers, both in terms of expansion and liquidation, he said. The one element that could especially change the liquidation numbers would be a widespread drought.

“I don’t care how high the prices are, if it’s dry we are going to see a drop in cattle numbers in those dry areas,” he said.


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