Home Indiana Agriculture News Uncertainty Limiting Expansion in Beef Production

Uncertainty Limiting Expansion in Beef Production


   Uncertainty Limiting Expansion in Beef Production

The uncertainty that continues to plague the farm economy seems to be a factor in keeping beef and dairy production at a slow pace. According to last Friday’s livestock inventory and Cattle on Feed reports, we currently have 13.6 million head of cattle in feedlots, up 2% from a year ago and the highest total in 23 years.

But USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam, says, overall, the report showed a livestock sector that is holding production steady. “There were 32.4 million beef cows unchanged from a year ago, and 9.3 million milk cows down 1% from a year ago,” stated Shagam. He added that beef replacement heifers fell by 4% “which indicates producers are pulling back on expanding their herds.”

The report also showed a decline in the calf crop which Shagam said is another a sign that expansion is not underway, “The calf crop was put at 36.3 million head which was lower than last year.” While a strong consumer economy is usually a sign for meat expansion, the uncertainty in feed prices and export demand are keeping many livestock producers cautious.