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Industry at a glance: Heifer population in feedyards is slowly declining

All indications are that heifer sales off the ranch are declining – albeit slowly and carefully.  

Nevil Speer

December 4, 2014

2 Min Read
Industry at a glance: Heifer population in feedyards is slowly declining

Last week’s chart focused on relative imports and their significance with respect to rebuilding the cowherd. Meanwhile, Industry At A Glance has regularly focused on the relative proportion of heifers in the feedyard. That most recently occurred a year ago following October’s Cattle on Feed report and quarterly updates regarding respective composition of the nation’s feedyard inventory. That’s an important snapshot as it provides some insight into heifer placement patterns and the potential for rebuilding the cowherd in coming years.

The front-end of the fall run (July, August, September) is now over. All indications are that heifer sales off the ranch are declining – albeit slowly and carefully. November’s feedlot inventory composition was approximately 35% heifers – down about 1% vs. last year’s mark.

heifers on feed december 2014

There’s a high level of confidence out in the country. And increasingly, producers are seemingly expressing desire to own more cows. However, as mentioned above, the data reveals that strategy is still somewhat guarded.

How do you perceive the data outlined above? What factors might reverse the declining heifer-placement trend? What’s your assessment of the general sentiment among cow-calf producers going forward? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

 Nevil Speer serves as a private industry consultant. He is based in Bowling Green, KY, and can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Author(s)

Nevil Speer

Nevil Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, KY.

Nevil Speer has extensive experience and involvement with the livestock and food industry including various service and consultation projects spanning such issues as market competition, business and economic implications of agroterrorism, animal identification, assessment of price risk and market volatility on the producer segment, and usage of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Dr. Speer writes about many aspects regarding agriculture and the food industry with regular contribution to BEEF and Feedstuffs.  He’s also written several influential industry white papers dealing with issues such as changing business dynamics in the beef complex, producer decision-making, and country-of-origin labeling.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.
Dr. Speer holds both a PhD in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Contact him at [email protected].

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