Source: USDA news release
Tight cattle inventories and record wholesale beef prices through the first 3 months of 2023 have supported a stronger-than-expected seasonal climb in fed cattle prices–prices for slaughter-ready steers marketed by feedlots.
Reported prices for a 5-area marketing region including Texas/Oklahoma/New Mexico; Kansas; Nebraska; Colorado; and Iowa/Minnesota set a record at $180.44 per hundredweight (cwt) for the week ending April 16, 2023, surpassing the previous high in November 2014. Prices averaged over $177 per cwt in April 2023, more than $35 above April 2022, and $46 higher than the 2013-22 average for the month of April.
Drought, forage availability, and high input costs have led producers to liquidate their herds over the last few years, shrinking the national herd size.
As of April 1, 2023, a more than 4 percent decrease year-over-year in the total number of cattle on feed is evidence of the continuation of this trend. Through the rest of 2023, cattle inventory in the United States is expected to remain tighter than last year, supporting higher prices as beef demand remains strong.
The forecast price in the 5-area marketing region for 2023 is $167 per cwt, more than $22 higher than the previous year. With even fewer cattle expected to be marketed in 2024, beef supplies are projected to remain tight while prices are forecast to increase $6 to $172 per cwt.