Purdue economist says environmental factors and previous economic factors will be key in determining which region will 'beef' up production first.
It is getting to be a well repeated story. Beef cow numbers are at their lowest level since 1962. Cattle and feeder cattle prices are at record highs and feed prices have dropped. Beef consumers continue to eat beef and are rewarding the beef industry with very profitable returns. So when are beef producers going to expand the breeding herd and in what regions of the country will that occur?
To answer those questions we first look at the areas of the country that had the biggest reductions in beef cow numbers due to drought, high feed prices, and financial losses. That was the Southern Plains.
Since 2007, beef cow numbers dropped by 12% totaling 3.8 million head. The biggest declines were in the region with the most cows – the Southern Plains – which accounted for 1.6 million of the decline.
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