Dr. Curt Lacy (UGA)
On Friday, January 28, USDA released the annual Cattle report. This year’s report had several interesting findings.
Total beef cows that had calved were reported to be 30.86 million head, down 2 percent from last year. Heifers held as beef replacements totaled 5.16 million down 5 percent from 2010. Overall, the U.S. beef cow factory (beef cows plus replacement heifers) shrunk by 790,000 head or 2.1 percent.
These numbers came in right at pre-report expectations. The short-term effects are likely to be firmness in deferred feeder and live cattle futures as it is apparent that the cow herd is not expanding. The long-term implications are that prices will have to increase above current levels to entice cattlemen to begin expanding the herd.