On July 19, the USDA published its annual midyear cattle inventory report. Total number of beef cows remain unchanged from 2018, totaling 32.4 million head. Many analysts believe that numbers may have plateaued, and this could be the start of an overall herd reduction.
Prices have remained stable through 2019. Maybe the most stable they have been for some time. Prices have seen their normal summer declines, but not to the severity of past years.
Feeder cattle prices for steer calves under 600 lbs. were down an average $3.60/cwt from June to July. On the other hand, steers weighing more than 600 lbs. were up $1.30/cwt. This price difference may continue into the fall months as feed prices continue to rise. Feedlots are going to want cattle at heavier weights going into the feedlots. Producers will want to watch the value of gain for those lighter-weight calves.
Cull cow and bull prices showed a slight increase in July. These prices will have some downward pressure if producers across the U.S. decide it is time to start liquidating the herd.
Kid goat prices continued their summer decline, falling to $243.17 and $244.17. These prices are below 2018 summer prices but still higher than the five-year average. These lower prices come after a spring that saw prices average close to $300.
Feeder lamb prices have rebounded higher after dropping to the yearly low in June.
The pressure on goat and lamb prices will follow their seasonal trend downward as we go into the high-supply months of fall.
If you have any questions about livestock markets, please feel free to contact the Pontotoc County OSU Extension office.