Dr. Derrel Peel Says Cattle Slaughter is Continuing to Recover from COVID-19 Disruptions


Oklahoma Farm Report

22 Jun 2020


Mondays, Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, offers his economic analysis of the beef cattle industry. This analysis is a part of the weekly series known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by Dr. Peel and Dr. Glenn Selk. Today, Dr. Peel talks about the third quarter beef recovery.


Cattle slaughter continues to recover from COVID-19 disruptions in April and May. Estimated cattle slaughter for the week ending June 20, 2020 was 656 thousand head, 98.2 percent of year earlier levels. This is based on estimated slaughter. The latest actual slaughter data for the week ending June 6, 2020 shows weekly total cattle slaughter of 627.7 thousand head, 94.4 percent of the previous year.


Steer and heifer carcass weights have been heavier year over year all year but the gap has widened considerably with the delays in marketing fed cattle since early April. For the year to date, steer and heifer carcass weights have averaged 27.4 pounds heavier year over year. However, for the first quarter of the year, carcass weights were up 20.4 pounds year over year, while average carcass weights in the ten weeks from April 1- June 6, were 36.7 pounds heavier year over year.


Year to date beef production through June 19 is estimated at 12.05 billion pounds, down 3.8 percent year over year. Beef production in the first quarter of 2020 was up 8.0 percent year over year. Second quarter beef production is projected to be down 14.0 percent from one year ago. The combination of recovered slaughter and higher carcass weights resulted in weekly beef production in mid-June estimated to be above year earlier levels for the first time in 10 weeks. Weekly beef production is likely to exceed year earlier levels for the third quarter and perhaps for the balance of the year. Third quarter beef production is forecast to be nearly 6 percent higher year over year. Annual beef production for 2020 is forecast to be slightly higher year over year and a new record level at 27.3 billion pounds.


The June Cattle on Feed report shows...