HOT BARN REPORT: The signals are signaling continued herd liquidation, tighter supplies of cattle, and increased beef imports – Special Friday Edition with Karina Jones

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HOT BARN REPORT: The signals are signaling continued herd liquidation, tighter supplies of cattle, and increased beef imports - Special Friday Edition with Karina Jones

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It is official, we have just confirmed our 12th reporting barn for the big fall run. We now blanket the great Northern beef belt from Motely, Minnesota to Torrington, Wyoming.

The Hot Barn Report is a fast paced and entertaining daily program covering the latest news and trends in the cattle industry, hosted by Monte James, a veteran rodeo announcer, radio host and industry expert! The Hot Barn Report features interviews with industry leaders, market analysts, producers and ranchers and features True Price Discovery from salebarns in Great Northern Beef Belt and across the nation.

The signals are signaling continued herd liquidation, tighter supplies of cattle, and increased beef imports. Thanks for joining me today on this special Friday edition of the Hot Barn Report.

Even if we could make heifers overnight to replenish the nation’s cowherd not many could crank up the heifer making machine because supplies of hay and feed are some of the shortest on record. A hard winter in the north had producers feeding heavy. Drought through the central and southern plains has burned through already faltering feed supplies as 2022 didn’t give them much to carry over. Those same drought-stricken regions are begging for moisture and culling even harder as the spring grass just isn’t coming and there are more hungry mouths to feed than there is feed in the countryside.

The fundamentals are continuing to come sharply into focus and are proving that building back our cow herd is going to be a long, hard road.

A report put out earlier this year by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln stated, “During periods of contraction, heifer placements into feedlots, as a percentage of total cattle on feed, is high and during periods of herd rebuilding, it is low (Figure 1). Currently, that percentage is 39.74% – the highest percentage since 2002. This is the first indicator that heifer replacements will decrease in 2023.”

A recent Brownfield interview with University of Missouri’s Scott Brown confirmed the UNL report, “As we look at the latest cattle on feed report we have, we’re now at 38.7%,” he says. “We’ve been north of 38%, really since late 2019. The report certainly shows us that we’re also not holding back heifers.” When the herd expansion was underway in 2015, heifers made up about 31 percent of total cattle on feed. Despite the ongoing strength in the cattle markets, USDA data suggests cattle producers haven’t started growing the U.S. herd. “Beef cow slaughter for the first three months, we’re down 90,000 head from where we were first quarter of a year ago,” he says. “That’s down 9.4%, so headed lower. However, slaughter is running high enough that it tells me we’re not doing a lot to build the herd.”

As we watch more cows go to the grinder optimism for herd rebuilding is being overshadowed by record beef imports. My fear is these beef importers have become hungry to capture more of our domestic market amid soaring wholesale and retail beef prices. The American producers has created an appetite for beef among consumers that will be exploited by lower quality imports, not raised under US standards. I don’t think these importers are going to want to give up their market share even if we can catch some rain and start to rebuild in the coming years.

These Diamond Dozen Hot Barns support the American cattle industry: Stockmens Livestock, Lemmon Livestock, North Platte Stockyards, St. Onge/Newell, Platte Livestock Market, Tri County Stockyards, Torrington Livestock, Creighton Livestock Market, Bassett Livestock Auction, Mobridge Livestock, Ogallala Livestock Auction Market, and Presho Livestock. Catch them all on

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