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Protein sources-Cattle Numbers

by Mike Austin


In looking back at 2013 we will remember that is was a good year for protein sources. In a conversation i had with Don Close from Rabobank at Trade Talk in Kansas City he remarked of how this was a very good year for the poultry industry and that 2014 should be just as good. He also felt good about the hog industry although had some question about the latest disease outbreak and what influence that may have in 2014. And he said all sectors of the beef industry were seeing very positive returns and that 2013 brought record beef prices. He feels that news along with improved pasture conditions, cheaper feed costs and strong domestic and export demand should be enough to encourage cattlemen to start building back up inventories.

Colin Woodall of the National Cattlemens' Beef Association agrees that the market signals are pointing to expansion of the beef herd however he added it may be difficult to convince a producer to hold unto a heifer when that market is providing near record returns. He was quick to add however that something has to be done in increasing inventory, because with tight supplies and high retail consumer prices they are bound to hit a point of price resistance where consumers look to a different source of protein such as pork or poultry over high priced beef. 

All elements point to a recovery in the beef supply but that is what thought at the end of 2012 and the expected increase never developed, and of course there always is that wild card of weather and how that may impact the industry as well. So keep an eye out for early indicators in the cattle and calves on feed report and livestock marketing numbers to see what direction we may see in 2014