Derrell Peel Doesn’t See Much Movement on The Cow Herd Rebuilding Front Going into Winter

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Derrell Peel about the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back talking with Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist Dr. Derrell Peel, about more on the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report, released September 22, 2023.

The on-feed numbers in the report came in at two percent below a year ago. Placements were down five percent, and marketings were down six percent compared to a year ago.

This particular report does not include a breakdown between steers and heifers; that information will be issued next month.

“We still don’t have any data that would suggest that we are saving heifers or retaining heifers,” Peel said. “I think it might be beginning to a limited degree.”

Peel said he believes the October Cattle on Feed report will show fewer heifers in the feedlot because, since July 4, heifer slaughter has decreased more strongly year-over-year.

“It is still not down a lot,” Peel said, “On a year-to-date basis, we are only down about 1.1 percent, but it has been running more like four to five percent down on the weekly average basis since the 4th of July.”

Through talking with many cattle producers over the last few weeks, Peel said he has the sense that producers are taking things slowly when it comes to rebuilding the herd.

“I don’t think they are in a really big hurry to save back these heifers,” Peel said. “In fact, many of them report right now they just need the revenue, so they are selling most everything.”

Across the state, every producer has a different situation when it comes to pasture conditions and available hay for the winter season.

“Frankly, producers, I don’t think, have changed their expectations,” Peel said. “We have got very high prices right now, but I think producers are cautious enough that they are not convinced at this point that those high prices are going to stay long enough to make them want to dive off in a big way and jump into this heifer retention thing.”

To see the latest Cattle on Feed report, CLICK HERE.

To access previous Cattle on Feed reports, CLICK HERE.

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