Fewer feeder cattle are expected to be imported from Mexico this year.
Mexico is an aggressive exporter of feeder cattle to the United States, but similar to the U.S., Mexico’s cattle herd is smaller than it has been. Quoted in a Dow Jones story, Don Close of Rabobank says record high U.S. calf prices and favorable exchange rates were reasons for a surge in exports to the U.S. from Mexico over the last two to three years. There was also severe drought in Mexico in 2011, resulting in more Mexican cattle shipped to the U.S.
Among the cattle leaving Mexico during the past 2 1/2 years were increasing numbers of breeding heifers, which further contributed to reduced cattle supplies there.
U.S. cattle feeders who have relied on replacement animals from Mexico are looking at the central and western U.S. and in Canada for the animals they need.
The USDA says nearly 1.45 million head of feeder cattle were shipped to the U.S. from Mexico last year. That beats the previous five-year average by 36 percent.