Maybe the cattle cycle is evolving – changing before our eyes.
People have been asking for nearly 10 years now, “What’s happened to the cattle cycle?”
Some prognosticators have even suggested the cattle cycle is dead.
Derrell Peel, livestock economist at Oklahoma State University, offers some new insight. Peel doesn’t so much address the historical 10-year cycle as he does the unprecedented state of the industry.
Peel cites a variety of factors which have prevented herd rebuilding, including what he calls “permanently higher grain prices.” Then he says he believes we’ll eventually see the national herd and the industry increase.
“However, I am not sure the current price levels are yet sufficient to ensure herd rebuilding,” Peel says. “I suspect higher prices will yet be needed to provide the profitability and expectations necessary to retain enough heifers in enough regions to rebuild cattle numbers.”
Personally, I’m wondering if we’re in the first stages of a change as large as the one when we quit eating baby beef and started feeding corn to virtually all calves. Nobody knew where that was really going. It didn’t happen overnight either.
Read Peel’s thoughts in our Web Exclusives section.