The cattle industry began the year with the smallest herd since the late 1950s.
Cattle traded at or near their daily limits Monday, foretelling higher hamburger and steak prices at the supermarket counters beginning next year.
The USDA says that fewer young animals than expected moved onto feedlots in August.
Cattle traders interpreted the 1% drop in cattle placements as a signal that a shortage of cattle and beef will exist early next year, when the newly arrived cattle will have reached their 1,300-lb. weights for slaughter.
“This could be the start of a major bull run on cattle,” says Jeff French, cattle trader at Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago.