USDA’s January 1 count of state cattle inventories reported the lowest cow numbers since 1962. The total inventory of cattle and calves fell to 89.3 million head, the lowest since 2015. With fewer cattle on the market, the price outlook remains optimistic for cattle producers.
Additionally, fewer numbers could also help alleviate some of the high cost to feed as hay supplies remain tight into 2023. However, there are concerns that U.S. beef demand could lessen due to potential economic conditions in 2023. But according to Scott Brown, a University of Missouri livestock economist, this does not seem to be impacting boxed beef values, leading to expectations for solid gains in feeder prices this year and into 2024.
All eyes remain on drought conditions in the plains states which will continue to play an essential role in feeder cattle supplies and overall cow numbers.
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