Current Progressive Cattle digital edition
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Fighting spirit and optimism shine through many producers' 2021 plans for their ranch. 

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The cattle industry, like everyone else, is more than ready to move past 2020 and into a new year. While the industry will start the year with a new slate, there are numerous factors in place that will shape markets for, at least, the first few months of 2021. Cattle markets face a mix of opportunities and challenges as the new year begins.

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On Dec. 18, the USDA Cattle on Feed report was released. The trade expectations told a consistent story of lower placements and marketings from a year ago.

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Much of 2020 has been preoccupied with daily and weekly slaughter numbers, carcass weights and boxed beef prices, along with monthly cattle-on-feed dynamics. The intertemporal volatility through the year adds to the challenge of assessing what, exactly, is the situation regarding the cattle cycle and longer-term herd dynamics.

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The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is announcing the release of a comprehensive industry feedyard audit tool. The Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit will serve as a standardized audit tool based on the sound science and common sense established in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program.

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