The newest annual report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) highlighted the harsh conditions ranchers have faced in the wake of drought conditions. According to the USDA, 13% of the American beef cow herd was sent to slaughter in 2022. This is the highest percentage in 38 years.
The report marks the fourth consecutive year of decline in cattle inventories. The country’s middle was hit hardest, with Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska recording the most significant reductions.
According to Drovers, the reduced herd size will likely lead to higher prices. However, restocking is expected to be slow, as some ranchers may have left the industry altogether. Additionally, heifer slaughters were at their highest since 2004, which will also slow the restocking process.
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