Cattle prices fluctuate; after-effect of droughts influence markets

With Obama (Democrats) and Romney (Republicans) see-sawing back and forth the beef-story has receded to the back pages.

Well, all I can say is (and please don’t take this the wrong way, I feel for those in the path of destruction and those who may have to spend years with a president they dislike), thank heaven for politicians and hurricanes, both of which are blowing hard in the headline news this week.

With Obama (Democrats) and Romney (Republicans) see-sawing back and forth in the U.S. presidential election battle and nasty Sandy battering all and sundry as she swings up the Eastern seaboard, the beef-story has receded to the back pages.

News of more interest in beef circles is the impact the continuing drought-issues in major U.S. cattle/corn/crop production-regions will have on our industry as the remainder of 2012 plays out.

Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt, “Drought has been particularly cruel to the beef cattle industry. As brood cows remain the last major livestock industry that is land extensive; when dryness leaves wide stretches of land unable to support cow grazing, producers have to buy feed or send the cows to town.”

Lower inventory numbers for U.S. -beef-cow herds will face further reduction until feed/forage supplies are restored which may take some time yet as USDA-reports indicate near about 55 per cent of the nation’s pasture/range are in poor/very poor condition.

Feedlots are reporting losses (some over $200/per head) with high feed prices, small calf crops and excess capacity (in feedlots) cited as loss-factors.

Hurt predicted, calf prices will be slow to recover due to high feed prices, continuing to fall until feed prices moderate. Declines in feed costs might occur with better grazing seasons for spring/summer (2013) and a return to larger U.S. corn/ soybean crops.

A more abundant feed supply (latter part of 2013) could result in a robust price recovery for calf and feeder cattle prices, encouraging beef cow expansion by late 2013.

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