Historically low cattle inventories in the US are projected to fall even further

Updated Mar 15, 2023
Cattle inventories are the lowest they’ve been in more than half a century, and will drop even further, said James Mitchell, extension livestock economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Drought during 2022 prompted many ranchers to liquidate herds after unable to find hay to feed their cattle. “Have we found the bottom? No,” Mitchell said. “It will be 2025 until we see any significant expansion on a national level. In terms of any national impact, we’re not done with herd liquidation. All the hay we were hoping to get did not arrive. I don’t think people are quite done selling cows.” Mitchell said beef production has recovered from the pandemic’s precipitous drop in 2020 but is forecast to decline through 2023. With tighter beef production, expect beef prices to be slightly higher, he said. “The quantity side of this is per-capita beef consumption, which is forecast at 56.3 pounds per person in 2023,” Mitchell said. That number compares with 59.2 pounds per person in 2022 and 58.8 pounds per person in 2021. Some are going to quote this as erosion in beef demand. This is not the case. This number is misleading. We should be calling this per-capita availability.” ...
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