Record Cow-Calf Returns Expected

US - Record cow-calf returns are expected for much of 2012-2014. Assuming normal weather, the national beef cow herd should grow in the medium term, according to the the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
calendar icon 9 March 2012
clock icon 1 minute read

Beef cow numbers fell sharply during 2011 despite the highest cow-calf net returns since 2005.

Extremely dry weather in many important cow-calf states kept the industry from responding to positive economic signals in a normal way.

Fed steer and feeder steer prices were 35-40 per cent above 2009 levels in 2011.

Increasingly tight calf supplies for the next couple of years will continue to exert upward pressure on feeder animal prices.

This could place feedlots in a difficult financial situation, depending upon feed price movements.

Beef packers will also need record wholesale boxed beef prices in order to offset expensive fed steer costs.

Trade developments continue to be a bright spot for the beef industry.

While exports have gained much of the media attention, the 1.5 billion pound drop in beef imports from 2005-2011 is almost as large as the 2.1 billion pound export gain during that period.

A relatively weak dollar and tight beef supplies worldwide would continue to place the US in a position to take advantage of world beef markets in the next decade.

Further Reading

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