Brenda Boetel, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, says beef production was down in 2023. While steer slaughter was lower, heifer and cow slaughter were higher. Producers are not holding back heifers to regrow beef herds after drought-related liquidation. Boetel, who also serves as an extension commodity marketing specialist, says this suggests the decline will continue through 2024 and possibly longer.

Beef exports were down 14% last year compared to 2022 while imports were 7% higher. Meanwhile, retail prices are up 3.9%. Domestic demand has dipped but remains better than expected. Will the strong demand last into 2024 with even higher beef prices? Boetel says only time will tell.

Read more on beef production and demand here.