Economist says cattle prices haven’t hit their highs yet

Cattle prices have pulled back recently, but a livestock economist says it likely won’t last for long.  University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says, “I’m not convinced that we’ve seen our record yet.”

He tells Brownfield while prices have pulled back recently – the fundamentals haven’t changed. “We’re seeing cattle get in the feed yard at this one time being pushed a little higher,” he says.

October placements indicate an increase in beef production in the near-term, but Brown says it’s a different story longer-term. “We’re going to be short,” he says.  “The overall picture has not really changed. When you look at cattle inventory, we’re not building the herd from best we can tell from all the USDA data available to us on that front.”

He says it could just be that cattle are still getting pulled ahead earlier than normal. “Drought impacts affect what we’re doing today,” he says.  “But also those drought impacts affect what we were doing in 2022.  That’s a little bit to do with what we’re talking about when we compare to where we were a year ago.”

The November 1 On Feed inventory was 101.7% and placements were 103.8% compared to year-ago levels.  Placements were within the pre-report range.

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