Cattle Market Update: Weather’s effect on herd expansion and predictions on rebuilding

Herds are showing growth in areas like the Northern Plains and some states in the Western U.S. where ranchers have seen more rainfall. However, for operations across the rest of the United States, that is not the case.

Any cattle herd expansion seen right now is extremely regional, according to CattleFax CEO Randy Blach in a recent conversation with Brownfield Ag News.

Herds are showing growth in areas like the Northern Plains and some states in the Western U.S. where ranchers have seen more rainfall. However, for operations across the rest of the United States, that is not the case. Blanch forecasted these producers will see herds continue to shrink before they begin to experience widespread growth again.

His prediction comes as beef cow slaughter was down 13 percent in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) latest Livestock Slaughter Report.

The latest Cattle on Feed Report did not give much indication of when producers would begin rebuilding their herds. USDA Livestock Analyst Mike McConnell said we will learn more in the next round.

“Next month’s report will also include a breakout of cattle on feed, not just overall, but also by sex,” McConnell explained. “So, we’ll have a look at the steers and heifers that are on the feed and that might give us a little bit more insight into whether or not heifers are going into the feedlot to be finished out for beef production in the next few months or whether or not they might be retained for the next breeding cycle we have coming up. But for better or worse, we’re going to have to wait until next month to get that additional insight.”

The next Cattle on Feed Report comes out on October 20.

A major influence in herd rebuilding is, of course, drought. This week’s U.S. Drought Monitor shows almost half of the nation’s cattle inventory is currently being affected by drought.

Wetter-than-normal conditions were seen along the East Coast this week as Tropical Storm Ophelia brought producers some relief from drought. However, it was drier than normal across the majority of the rest of the country, with temperatures still being above normal for producers in the Plains, Mississippi Valley, and Great Lakes.

Related Stories
U.S. Senators are calling for stronger legislation to address national security and food security risks of allowing foreign actors to buy up American farmland.
The Walkes Family’s inspiring journey in agriculture showcases the incredible potential of sustainable agriculture, land transformation, and community collaboration. We learn their story in the new feature series, “Our Amazing Grasslands” by the South Dakota Grasslands Coalition.
In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that struck his operation, this brave Michigan farmer shares his family’s harrowing experience and their inspiring work rebuilding with the help of their community.

Agriculture Shows
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join Host and Market Day Report Anchor Christina Loren as she interviews members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.
How do you narrow down the best-of-the-best “Texas Country Reporter” episodes across 50 seasons and hundreds of episodes? We didn’t know where to start! Instead, we turned to the expert—TCR host Bob Phillips himself—for help with this special collection of episodes, “TCR Classics: Bob’s Picks.”