"With record-high beef prices, it's a great time to be in the cattle business," says Scott Brown, University of Missouri beef economist.

The outlook shows a $250 return/cow in the coming year. In the previous beef cycle, returns topped at under $100/cow.

"We've never seen anything like current prices," Brown said. "Before you go home and double the size of your cow herd, remember the cattle cycle," Brown said.

When cow numbers go down, prices go up. However, when numbers go up, prices go down.

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