Ethanol, poor winter forage keep U.S. cattle herd static

Ethanol, poor winter forage keep U.S. cattle herd static

by Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

Abundant rains this spring helped pasture and forage conditions improve over much of cattle country. But it came too late to boost the U.S. cattle inventory this year.

That’s according to the latest livestock, dairy and poultry outlook from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS). The ERS report says heavy cow and calf slaughter, early placement of cattle in feedlots, probable reduced heifer retention due to poor forage and high grain prices from ethanol, will all combine to, most likely keep the U.S. cattle herd steady this year.

But ERS expects U.S. beef exports to increase in the second half of this year and into 2008. The reason? Expectations for increased access to Asian markets for U.S. beef.

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