Beef Buzz News
Beef Cow Herd Will be Smaller in 2022
Tue, 28 Dec 2021 08:38:05 CST
Before the global pandemic crippled the U.S. beef supply chain, the U.S. beef cow herd reached its highest number in about 10 years, with nearly 42 million beef cows. No one knew the next two years would see a backlog of fed cattle smothering cattle prices from the top down. On top of that, drought is dominating cattle country. Cattle production is a long game and producers only have a handful of ways to respond to upside-down cattle numbers.
Listen to Ron's conversation with Dr. Peel here.
Derrell Peel, extension specialist for livestock marketing at Oklahoma State University, has been monitoring the U.S. beef cow herd. Today, he discusses beef cow herd projections for 2022 with Ron Hays, senior broadcaster of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network.
“Crunching through the numbers, I think the drought added around 300,000 head more beef cows to the beef cow slaughter total than we would have had otherwise,” Peel said. “Of course, we do not know for sure what would have happened in the absence of drought impact.”
The USDA is set to release the first of its biannual U.S. Cattle Inventory report in Jan. 2022. That will give Peel solid figures.
“We know that from a slaughter standpoint, beef-cow slaughter has been significantly above previous-year levels,” Peel said. “And we are not quite sure what happened with heifers. We had plenty of replacement heifers at the beginning of 2021, but we also know drought conditions forced a lot of producers to switch those heifers into the feeder supply channel.”
Peel guarantees the U.S. beef cow herd is smaller. In all, folks can count on U.S. cattle numbers continuing to tighten as we move through 2022, he added.
If the drought persists in the southern Great Plains, which is expected during a La Niña weather pattern, Peel said depending on how the spring growing season goes, producers may be forced to make management decisions early in the year.
Right now, wheat pasture is suffering significantly, according to Peel.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Derrell Peel as they talk about the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report, what those numbers mean for the U.S. beef cow herd and how producers can mitigate risk during uncertainty.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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