Derrell Peel Says Heifers Continue to Fill the Feedlots- All But Ensuring Smaller Beef Cow Herd in January 2024 Report

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Derrell Peel about the latest 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 the latest Cattle on Feed report issued by the USDA and heifer numbers in feedlots.

In the report issued on October 20, placements were up six percent from one year ago. Peel said while this number is eye-catching, the number he is paying closest attention to is the number of females in feedlots.

“What is really important in this report is the quarterly breakdown on steers and heifers,” Peel said. “If you look at absolute numbers, the number of cattle on feed now is up 71,000 head from a year ago, and 60,000 head of that increase year-over-year is heifers.”

Peel said heifers represent 40 percent of total cattle on feed inventory. In the short run, Peel said there are more cattle in feedlots, but in the long run, this report shows that heifer retention has not commenced and will most likely be postponed well into 2024.

“Without a doubt, we will see a smaller beef cow herd in January, and depending on what happens next year with drought and producer expectations, that will probably be the cyclical low, but I suppose at this point we have to kind of wait and see,” Peel said.

It is too late in the season, Peel said, to change the picture much for this fall when it comes to heifer retention. Any potential regrowth in the herd will depend on what happens next year, he added.

“For 2024 and probably a couple of years beyond that, we are talking about very tight supplies and continually high prices,” Peel said.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

Verified by MonsterInsights