Calf prices strengthen, cattle herd shrinking


Texas’ cattle herd numbers continue to shrink, but calf prices remain strong, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Calf prices are expected to climb once Texas cattle producers are convinced the drought is over and begin rebuilding their herds. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Michael Miller)

Future cattle prices could hinge on weather and subsequent grazing availability and/or input costs, such as grain., said David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension livestock marketing economist, Bryan-College Station. Retail beef prices could be influenced by beef imports and the largest amount of beef in cold storage since 2016.

However, future cattle and beef prices hinge on long-term size of the U.S. herd, Anderson said.

Calf prices remain strong, and the market experienced recent increases, but Anderson expects herds to continue to shrink in 2023. He expects calf and beef prices to climb, but it could be 2024 before the market pushes them toward new records.

“We’re getting there in terms of fewer animals and calves, but demand for cattle and beef hasn’t been subject to a supply-demand imbalance that could really impact prices,” he said.