Beefenomics: Focus on Seasonal Beef Demand by: William Secor, Ph.D. University of Georgia Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

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May heralds the beginning of grilling season in the U.S. The focus of beef and cattle markets turning to whether and how much of a kick beef prices might see thanks to this seasonal boost in demand.

I do not expect a huge bump in prices for two reasons. First, supply has been strong this spring. Beef production has run above year-ago levels for five weeks starting in April. This contrasts with beef production during the same time last year averaging about 7 percent below 2022 production. Additionally, cattle on feed numbers remained above year-ago levels through April. This was true for both cattle on feed over 90 days and 120 days. This suggests relatively high production could continue through early summer.

Second, demand may be softening. This is seen first in the lack of the initial seasonal uptick in cutout values so far (Figure 1 above). Despite the . . .

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