Economist says short cattle supplies like a long-term challenge
An ag economist says cattle supplies continue to tighten and he doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon. University of Missouri’s Scott Brown. “Just like those tankers that have been stuck in canals, it takes big momentum to move them once they’re stuck,” he says. “And I think this a case as well, once we get short, we’ll be short for a long period of time.”
He tells Brownfield continued strong demand could send prices higher, sparking additional concerns. “Do consumers at some point say enough,” he asks. “And say ‘I don’t need those higher prices’. Especially maybe if other commodities don’t run as high.”
But, Brown says consumers shouldn’t worry about product availability. “It’s just that prices probably go higher trying to handle less supplies to consumers,” he says. “Or maybe we just export less meat as well.”
The USDA’s latest Cattle on Feed report showed placements outside of the top-end of pre-report expectations indicating more cattle were being pulled ahead, largely due to feed availability and drought concerns. Brown says that likely indicates shorter supplies in late 2022 and early 2023.