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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies

Cattle Industry Insight

Posted by Travis Meteer - Economics

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person? Your response likely correlates with your view of the current beef industry dynamic. It seems that the beef industry is offering up a "mixed bag" as discussed by Chris Hurt, Ag Economist, Purdue University, in his industry update.

Extensive drought in the Midwest stacked on top of an extreme drought in the Southwest has really taken a toll on the cattle industry. Cows still rely on the land and the forage produced by that land. Drought has handcuffed the nation's cowherd and reduced feed grain production needed for finishing cattle. The word I feel best describes the cattle industry right now is coping.

The industry seems to be coping with the current industry dynamic, but change is certain. Neither my time machine nor my glass ball is working, so I cannot tell you the future. However, I can tell you producers that continue to implement best management practices, become more efficient, and more flexible will be prepared to take advantage of a changing beef cattle industry.

We could argue for hours on what the future will be, what kinds of cattle we need, how we need to feed them... but here are the answers. If you are refining your cattle operation to be better than it is today... then the future is bright. If you are raising good cattle that fit your market...that's the kind of cattle we need. If you are feeding a balanced, least-cost ration...that is how we need to feed them.

Sometimes we get caught up in change. The drought has forced us all to do some things different. If you can embrace change, welcome opportunity, and manage risk... then the cattle industry is about to get really fun.

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