Farmers gathered at a University of Missouri field day to hear about better breeding of cow herds listened to positive news on beef prices for 2014 and beyond.
Scott Brown, MU livestock economist, told producers he had a "glass half full" outlook. "There are lots of positive signs for fed cattle prices to top $1.30 a pound in 2014," he said.
"The fundamentals are there. Corn prices are headed down to 2010 levels. And fed cattle prices will range much higher than in 2010."
His crop slide showed current futures prices for corn near $4.50 per bushel in 2014.
He showed fed cattle dipped below 80 cents in 2010, and that current future feeder calf prices for 2014 run $50 higher per hundred than in 2010.
A big difference has been continued drop in cow herd numbers. "Beef inventory is low. Short supply leads to higher prices," Brown said.
Domestic consumer demand remains critical for continued higher beef prices. However, demand is not clear, Brown said. It has been in steady decline since the start of the Great Recession and recovery remains slow.
"The economy affects how much beef people eat," he added.
Strong international demand
However, international demand continues strong. South Korea, Japan and China are growing influences.
"It's difficult to get good numbers out of China," Brown said. "But think of the potential. They have 1.3 billion people and their income grows at 7 percent per year. They want more beef. International demand remains important to beef producers."