Analysts caution that the storms disrupted both consumption and beef shipments so the true state of beef demand is not clear at this time.
Virtually all sectors of cattle and beef markets have been affected by two major winter storms that hit a week apart in February, leading producers to scramble to care for animals and maintain production.
"Significant snowfall and record low temperatures, especially with the wind chills, have disrupted markets and pushed both cattle and cattle managers well out of their normal operating ranges," says Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist.
Worse, analysts expect it will take some time for ripple effects of the storms to work their way out of the system.
Spring calving is well under way. These cows are vulnerable, particularly from a nutritional standpoint. Nutritional stress could cause weak calves and more death loss this spring, and possibly poor rebreeding rates as well, that could affect the 2012 calf crop.
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