Beef Buzz News
Cattle Prices to Improve in 2021 Says Katelyn McCullock, Livestock Marketing Information Center
Wed, 06 Jan 2021 08:23:24 CST
Katelyn McCullock, director and senior agricultural economist for the Livestock Marketing Information Center, expects 2021 to better for cattle producers than 2020 but there will still be a few hiccups along the way.
We’re characterizing 2021 as a different type of uncertainty, McCullock said.
Travel and dining are still no where close to normal and that could have an impact on the beef industry, she noted.
One of the measures we look at is weekly restaurant data that shows business is down 60 percent last week, she said.
Until that part of the beef demand complex perks up it may be difficult to match cattle supply with demand from a timing perspective, she said.
On a positive note, retail sales have continued to be very strong, she said.
Also, we’ve managed to avoid plant shutdowns the last half of the year and I would expect those types of disruptions to be behind us, she said.
We think 2021 will still show some lingering affects from the pandemic but we don’t expect any “black swan” events, she said.
From a price outlook standpoint, the livestock economist said prices should be good in 2021.
We’re expecting primary fed cattle prices to be about 7 percent higher on average throughout the year, she said.
For feeder cattle we expect in the first quarter to be similar to 2020 for the 7-800-pound animals, she said.
The next U.S. corn crop is expected to be large and as the growing season progresses, we’re expecting feeder calf prices to improve significantly, she said.
Overall, we’re expecting prices to be similar to the 2018 annual averages, she said.
Exports, the pandemic and drought will of course have an impact, but everything is predicated on the beef cow herd continuing to decline in 2021
From a total production standpoint, we’re expecting slaughter levels to be slightly below 2020 numbers which will lead to a drop in beef production of about one percent in 2021, McCullock said.
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