Cattle slaughter numbers starting to pick up

Photo credit Iowa State University

Wednesday’s estimated cattle slaughter was 91-thousand head, up nearly 20-thousand head from the end of April.

University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says that’s an encouraging sign.

“We have to go back to April 14th to find a day where we had larger daily slaughter than what we saw today,” Brown says. “So maybe we’ll continue to crawl out of what’s been a slowdown in terms of slaughter numbers.”

Oklahoma State University ag economist Derrell Peel agrees, but says it’s going to take some time to work through the “tremendous backlog” of fed cattle.

“As cattle backed up, not surprisingly, we’re starting to see carcass weights go higher counter-seasonally—and that will be something that we have to watch going forward,” Peel says.

Daily cattle slaughter peaked at the end of March at around 125-thousand head.

Brown and Peel were part of Brownfield’s cattle markets webinar on Wednesday evening.

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