What is in this article?:
For almost 20 years, I’ve coordinated a year-end review of the beef industry by independent cattle consultants. While opinions have differed significantly in previous years, these eight consultants concur that widespread drought was the major event in 2012.
For 2013, improved industry profitability will be dependent on the weather. Meanwhile, continued drought could be devastating, and students of history know that severe droughts are often several years in duration.
San Antonio, TX
It’s been a year full of feedlot financial problems, even though feedlot performance was excellent. That’s thanks to good feeding weather, good cattle, good management and good nutrition. No doubt the increased use of beta agonists has also increased gains and carcass weights.
The severe 2011 drought in the Southern Plains moved north to the Central Plains and Midwest in 2012, bringing poor pasture and crop production, and record grain prices. Complicating the ingredient price situation was the rapid increase in all by-product prices; even the most flexible nutritionist found providing bargain by-products difficult.
In addition, dry grass and high supplement prices resulted in more cow liquidation and more cows moving to dry lot. Limit-fed confinement cow programs have worked better than many expected.
Land prices continue to increase at a breathtaking rate. While most farmland is being bought by other farmers, ranchland is often bought by “outsiders.” With record-high land and cow prices, some ranches have opted to take the money and run. In some instances, beef production isn’t the major objective of new owners, which may limit future cow expansion.