Cattle producers must dig deep for feed to round out the year. Corn futures have increased more over the past two months and, with higher interest rates, no relief is in sight for cattle feeders. Higher corn prices are likely to result in lower slaughter weights or fewer animals at slaughter with very heavy finish weights. However, these prices have been high on the cash side for a while, so it’s still in question what the impact will be on recently observed weights.

Meanwhile, hay prices will be much lower in 2022 than last year. Nationally, old crop hay stocks were a modest 16.8 million tons on May 1 and total 2022 production at 128.8 million tons. These are the lowest U.S. production and supply levels since the 1950s, primarily due to drought. A stronger U.S. dollar will push hay export prices higher for importers, possibly leading to a larger domestic supply, although at costs not favorable to cattle producers.

Read more on cattle feed costs here.