Cattle herd liquidation seen as troubling sign

Cattle herd liquidation seen as troubling sign

Peter Shinn

Brownfield Network

The Daily Livestock Report published by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday noted troubling evidence of cattle herd liquidation. The report’s author’s, livestock economists Steve Meyer and Len Steiner noted an increased pace of cattle slaughter this year amid steadily climbing feed costs.

“Despite high cow slaughter rates in 2006 and 2007, current cow slaughter remains well above year ago levels,” the Report said. “Weekly beef cow slaughter in April was an average 10.4% higher than the already high levels of a year ago and 21.7% higher than the 2003-07 average.”

DTN Chief Livestock Analyst John Harrington agrees with that assessment. Harrington told Brownfield Wednesday the slowly dwindling U.S. cattle herd hasn’t yet fully translated into higher costs to consumers. And when that happens, Harrington suggested the entire dynamic of beef consumption in America could change.

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