Current Progressive Cattle digital edition

ERS report: Drought spiking cull rates upward

Published on 17 July 2013

This month's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) puts the heavy slaughter rates for beef cattle in perspective. Feedlots are placing heavier feeder cattle as a way to spark more beef production as the summer continues, which USDA says could lower fed cattle prices.

On the trade side, that means more exports leaving the U.S. in May 2013, as opposed to the same month in 2012. Exports jumped 4.5 percent in the month, but overall the beef trade still sits down 2 percent for the year. But the trade route to Japan is up 51 percent through May 2013.


Meanwhile, what we expected to be a heavy import year in 2013 has reversed course. Imports of beef into the U.S. declined 16 percent in May 2013 compared to May 2012. Imports from Mexico have dropped 9 percent since last year, while imports from Canada are up. The inventory in Mexico continues to drop as a result of that country's ongoing drought.

Prices for fed cattle prices dropped as a result of the movement, since a peak of $129.02 per hundredweight in early May and now down to just above $120 per cwt. Carcass weights, in the meantime, are jumping again and should stay higher through 2013 and into the next year.

Read the entire report hereend mark