Cattle market prices for 2012 should remain fundamentally strong and average 4-8% higher than in 2011. However, next year’s market will have the potential for some big price swings.

“Cattlemen will need to search for ways to lower their unit costs of production and ways to enhance market prices in order to achieve profitability during 2012,” says Walt Prevatt, Auburn University Extension economist, in his annual U.S. Beef Cattle Situation and 2012 Price Outlook.

Factors to watch in 2012, says Prevatt, include the current weak U.S. economy, high levels of unemployment, lack of consumer confidence, political gridlock and chaos at all levels of government, an upcoming U.S. presidential election, and various other issues.

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