Slaughtering of heifers and cows in 2022

Increased cull cow slaughter and the number of heifers in feedlots have been key factors to watch in 2022. Each has implications for beef production and cattle supply this year and beyond. ‘coming.

Beef cow slaughter was higher throughout 2022. In August, beef cow slaughter was up about 9% from a year ago, or about 24,000 more head , while the slaughter of dairy cows was estimated at 1,600 head. Year-to-date, beef cow slaughter is about 13% higher than in 2021.

Regionally, cow slaughter in the southern plains is much higher than in 2021 where drought was a major factor. Region 6 includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and beef cow slaughter in this region is about 30% higher year-to-date in 2022 than in 2021. This is more than 150,000 heads more than a year ago in this region. These levels of cow slaughter are very high and even exceed the high slaughter totals seen during the 2011 drought.

Heifer slaughter in August is estimated to be around 10% lower than August 2021. There was an additional working day in August 2022 which explains part of the increase. Meanwhile, steer slaughter was down one per cent above August 2021. Dressed heifer weight was up a pound from a year ago, while steer weight is equal a year ago.

Higher heifer slaughter and trimmed weights contribute to higher than expected total beef production. Projections from the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report foresee a slight increase in beef production in 2022 compared to 2021, which is a change from the projection at the beginning. of the year of a decrease of 3%. Increasing heifer meat production is a key factor.

While higher total cow and heifer slaughter numbers are contributing to higher beef production this year, the longer-term implications are tighter supplies. Higher slaughter totals mean fewer cows and fewer replacement heifers to produce calves. WASDE’s current projection for beef production in 2023 would be around 6% lower than the current 2022 projection. Price expectations reflect this tight supply. Live cattle futures prices for contract months 2023 are currently trading between $155 and $161, while feeder cattle futures prices for contract months 2023 are trading between $185 and $200 per cwt. . It seems likely that there will be attractive pricing opportunities for cattle producers.

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Source: Mississippi State University, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is fully owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all of its affiliates are not responsible for any content contained in this information asset.