The U.S. cattle market has witnessed a significant surge in 2023, a trend that began taking shape in the latter part of 2022. Recent data showcases that lightweight calves and stockers under 600 pounds have seen a price jump of around 45% compared to last year. Heavier cattle have also experienced a considerable boost, rising between 37 to 40%.
The driving force behind these escalating prices is the tightening cattle and beef supply. Records show that the number of beef cows as of January 1, 2023, was at its lowest since 1962 and is further dwindling.
Predictions for 2023 indicate a calf crop smaller by 2.5 million than the 2018 peak. This has led to a 3.6% dip in feeder cattle supply, making it the smallest since 2017. Moreover, there's been a near 4% decline in cattle slaughter this year, causing a 4.9% drop in beef production.
Current market figures suggest we're in an era where feeder cattle prices are either reaching or are about to reach record levels. Statistics indicate that prices for animals weighing over 600 pounds have already set new records, with lightweight feeders expected to follow suit soon.
Cattle prices have gone up fast. The highest point might come when the industry starts to grow its herds more. This means keeping more young cows and not removing older ones, which will reduce beef made. This change is just beginning and will take some time.
People in the industry think it might take three to four years to grow the herds again. This means more beef might be made by 2026. But cow prices will probably stay high until 2025. Source : wisconsinagconnection