Aggressive herd expansion reverses shrinking U.S. cattle supply

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual cattle inventory report showed the U.S. cattle herd as of Jan. 1 at 101 per cent of a year earlier, or up one per cent at 89.8 million head.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersIf the uSDA’s data is anything like other government generated data (inflation, for example) I’d be very careful with the conclusions. — jtl, 419

By Theopolis Waters via Canadian Cattlemen

Chicago | Reuters – Affordable feed and record-high spikes in cattle prices in 2014 encouraged U.S. ranchers to increase their herds at a faster pace than previously expected during the past year, analysts said in response to a government yearly cattle report on Friday.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualExpansion efforts by producers helped turnaround the seven-year decline in the U.S. population from a 63-year low after severe drought hurt crops and forced ranchers to reduce the size of their herds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual cattle inventory report showed the U.S. cattle herd as of Jan. 1 at 101 per cent of a year earlier, or up one per cent at 89.8 million head.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewAnalysts, on average, expected a 0.1 per cent decline from 88.5 million lavst year.

Friday’s USDA data showed the Jan. 1 cattle population was larger than in 2013 and 2014, but still the third smallest since 1952, said University of Missouri livestock economist Ron Plain.

Combat Shooter's HandbookThe results, some of which were revised upward from last year, imply lower-than-anticipated cattle and weaker beef prices beginning in 2016, analysts said.

The inventory figure well above the average trade estimate, which was largrely unchanged, suggests more cattle are available and the breeding herd is growing faster than expected, said Plain.

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsAnalysts expected a more measured response to herd rebuilding, but attractive cattle prices, healthy pasture conditions and affordable feed caused ranchers to be more aggressive than initially thought, he said.

In the past, USDA’s semi-annual cattle reports typically have not influenced Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures, because the results project cattle production well beyond the contracts listed by the exchange.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2)The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)But Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Allendale Inc., projected CME live cattle to open 0.3 to 0.4 cents per pound lower on Monday, based on Friday’s report.

USDA’s data deflates the argument about tight supplies this year, and will cause people to revise upward slaughter estimates for 2015, Nelson said.

“We will be raising our numbers for slaughter for this year and when expansion will hit, beginning in 2016 instead of 2017,” said Nelson.

On Thursday, JBS USA said it will expand a Utah beef-processing facility, despite fewer cattle now that forced some of its rivals to close plants.

“We’ve got bigger numbers coming down the road and JBS may have anticipated this better than the rest of us did,” said Plain.

– Theopolis Waters reports on livestock futures markets for Reuters from Chicago.


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A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

You might be interested in this books supplement: Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual.


About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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