Mike Pearson takes a look at the latest cattle on feed report released Friday by the USDA.

October 23, 2023

Mike Pearson examines the state of the cattle industry here in the USA.

After 3 years of drought and high feed prices, many cattle producers have thrown in the towel and the cattle herd has reduced to 28.9 million head-- the smallest herd in 61 years.

Consumers have been flush with cash and willing to use it to eat well pushing prices into record territory this summer.

The last time prices were this high were at the end of the last cattle cycle-- October 2014--- when prices were $1.68 per pound.

Prices per pound for cattle hit $1.84 in September 2023 but the prices have started ot fall.

Both live and feeder cattle prices have seen additional weakness over the past several weeks.

There is growing concern over a decline in consumers willing to pay for the beef and a decline in beef exports.

The exports hit a marketing low of 400 tons which was 97 percent below the 5 year- average.

The USDA cattle on feed report shared bullish news Friday.

The one percent increase predicted by analysts proved right.

There was also an increase in the heifer market-- 4.64 million heifers reported on feed. However, this means some cattle producers are just not ready to rebuild their herds yet.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

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