Lower US Cattle Supplies Could Boost Prices

US - A positive outlook for the US beef industry is being forecast by Cattle Fax on the back of tightening domestic supplies and some recovery in demand in 2011 and 2012 as the US and global economies improve, says Peter Duggan, from Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.
calendar icon 1 September 2010
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According to Cattle Fax, the US beef cow herd is expected to contract by 1.5 per cent during 2010. This means the herd will have declined for 13 of the last 15 years. Figures from the USDA for the 1st July show that the number of beef cows and heifers calved stood at 31.7 million head, the lowest on record. Many factors have contributed to the decline in cattle numbers. These include, land being utilised for other purposes, increasing age profile of cow/calf producer, drought and peak production costs in 2008. Cattle Fax project the tightest cattle supplies since the mid 1990’s for 2011 and 2012.

Beef demand is expected to recover gradually throughout 2011 and 2012 as consumer spending and per capita income returning to growth. Cattle Fax expect US retail prices to reach record levels in 2011 and 2012 with the June 2010 retail beef price just two cents from the all time high set in 2008 at $4.09 per pound.

Increased demand for beef exports is helping the trade further. In 2010, beef exports are forecast to increase by 25 per cent to 1.03 million tonnes. Next year, beef exports are anticipated to increase by a further four per cent to 1.07 million tonnes helped by a recovering US trade in key Asian markets.

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