Cattle Numbers Up, But Prices Down

August 28, 2015 09:16 AM
Cattle Numbers Up, But Prices Down

Cattle prices are very good, but for how long? The more people jump into production, the greater the likelihood of prices falling.
By: Les Harrison, University of Florida Extension

In a report dated July 24, 2015, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has stated there are 98.4 million head of cattle on U.S. Farms. This marks the first inventory increase since the pre-recession days of 2006.

The report also forecast the 2015 calf crop to be 34.3 million head. 24.8 million were born during the first half of the year and 9.5 million are expected to be born during the last six months of 2015.

Cows and heifers which have calved account for 39.8 million of the national number. Of the 39.8 million cows and heifers that have calved, 30.5 million head were beef cows and 9.3 million were milk cows.

In another USDA report dated July 30, 2015, the June price index for all meat animals is down 2.3 percent from the previous month and 1.6 percent lower than a year earlier. However, the June 2015 beef cattle prices were $8.00 higher than June 2014, but down $5.00 from May 2015.

This report also indicated hay prices have retreated. On average in the “all hay” category, June 2015 prices have dropped 7.5 percent from a month ago, and almost 18 percent from a year ago.

The June Index of Overall Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW), settles at 109 and is unchanged from May 2015 but is down 3.5 percent from June 2014.

The June 2015 Fertilizer index, at 92, is unchanged from May but is eight percent below June a year ago. Since this May, lower prices for nitrogen have offset higher prices for mixed fertilizer along with potash and phosphate.

For more information and data related to this topic, please see the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) General Economic Reports.

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