Beef Buzz News
Weather Continues As Most Important Factor Driving Cattle Markets, Beall Says
Mon, 13 Aug 2012 10:54:41 CDT
Tommy Beall says top cattle market concerns are weather, weather, and weather.
Noted cattle market analyst Tommy Beall spoke to producers at the 2012 Southern Plains Beef Symposium in Ardmore. He spent many years with Cattlefax before establishing Beall Consulting Group out of Mead, Colorado. He gave symposium attendees his take on market trends and the industry's prospects into the coming year.
He said there are several factors impacting the markets, but none so important as the continuing drought.
"Weather is absolutely the driver in this thing. Unfortunately, it's been two years of a drought, a very, very serious, historic drought, two years back-to-back. And it's grown this year to the point where it covers 60 to 70 percent of the cattle industry. So the extent of it is certainly the driver. And we are a land-based industry and we can't get along without feed and water. It's probably the biggest driver.
"The second key factor we have in this bunch of balls in the air is just cattle numbers. We've spent most of the last 15 years liquidating cattle, and the last five years especially, liquidating cow numbers. We've definitely got a smaller cattle herd and we're setting the stage now for smaller and a bigger decline in beef production. So, those are the big drivers right now."
"Looking long-term, we have to have demand, obviously, and exports are a key part of that and those have been positive trends in our business.
"But right now, it's just survival this year. Weather, grain prices have become, in the last 60 days, a gigantic issue. It's had a huge impact on the value of feeder cattle and calves. And, so , this year's grain prices and grain rationing that's going to have to go on over the next several months or next year is becoming the most central issue in our economics of the business over the next year."
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