Slaughter numbers show no immediate expansion


Victoria Advocate (TX)

Sep 20, 2022


Recent data continues to indicate any expansion in the cattle industry is months away.


Heifer slaughter in August was up 11.1% from a year ago, according to data from USDA. Conversely, steer slaughter is less than 1% higher than a year ago, according to an analysis from the Livestock Marketing Information Center.


Beef cow slaughter in August was up 8.8% from a year ago, with dairy cow numbers down slightly. Slaughter weights have been declining.


“Weights of cows heading to slaughter have dropped significantly from last year, down an estimated 8 pounds based on the weekly data,” the LMIC said. “Still, cows have contributed a whopping 12.4 million more pounds of beef than last year.


“The large volumes of heifers has shifted the LMIC estimate from a net negative in beef production for 2022 over 2021 to slightly positive. The large volume, though, indicates prospects of rebuilding of the beef cow herd is continuing to decrease.”


The LMIC is estimating the Jan. 1, 2023, beef cow herd number to be down 2.5% from a year ago.


“The heifers held for replacement will be the more telling story,” the LMIC said. “January 1 Cattle inventory will also provide state-level data. Certain regions of the country will show more dramatic changes as result of drought liquidation.”


August cutout data showed a strong resurgence in interest for Prime-graded beef, approaching levels not seen since January of 2022, according to the LMIC. Those numbers rose primarily on the strength of ribs and loins, with loin values reaching a yearly high in August.


Prime rib values were up 12% from July. Those values were 4% lower than in August 2021...