One of the highlights of the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show is always the CattleFax Outlook Seminar, and there was a full house in Orlando, Florida last week when the experts shared their market and weather analysis.
Kevin Good, vice president of market analysis at CattleFax, reported that U.S. beef cow herd declined 2% with inventories at 28.2 million head at the beginning of this year. “Though drought conditions did improve in many regions, over a third of the cow herd was affected by drought in 2023, causing limited heifer retention and more liquidation in some regions. This will limit growth to the cow herd near-term,” Good said.
Cow and bull slaughter is forecast to be 6.5 million head in 2024, down around 800,000 head, from 2023. CattleFax predicted feeder cattle and calf supplies outside of feedyards will be 1 million head smaller than 2023 at 24.1 million head.
Randy Blach, CattleFax chief executive officer, concluded the session with an overall positive outlook, and noted that the current cattle cycle will be much slower and prolonged compared to the last as heifer retention has not yet started on a nationwide basis. He expects the peak in cattle prices is likely to occur in 2025-2026 and, in the meantime, industry profitability will continue to swing in favor of the cow-calf producer as excess feeding and packing capacity chases a declining supply of feeder cattle and calves.
Listen to the entire presentation and interviews with Good and Blach below.CattleFax Outlook Seminar 1:57:36 Interview with Randy Blach, CattleFax 8:16 Interview with Kevin Good, CattleFax 7:00