Timely market information is critical to the daily functioning of any and all commodity businesses – including agriculture. And agriculture is feeling the repercussions of the government shutdown. The fallout halted price-reporting services available through USDA, which possesses some important implications to the normal functioning of the market if the shutdown ends up being a lengthy one.

Meanwhile, budget cuts in recent years has also forced USDA to pare back some of its normal services. For example, USDA’s quarterly report indicating inventory of feeder cattle outside of feedlots is no longer available.

That discussion speaks to the importance of redundancy and/or alternative methods to track both supply and price of cattle, not to mention all agricultural products, within the industry. That said, the “2008 National Stocker Survey,” which was sponsored by Elanco Animal Health, Kansas State University and BEEF magazine, provides a good snapshot of how producers obtain current market information for decision-making within their respective businesses. The illustration details producer responses to the importance of various information sources.

common sources of cattle market data

Does this breakdown reflect your current perspectives on market information? What other sources might you rely when deciding how to market your cattle? How do you see market information services (both public and private) developing in the future to ensure access to reliable, consistent data? Leave your thoughts below.

 

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