Dr. Derrell Peel on Cattle Slaughter Dynammics


Oklahoma Farm Report

12 Oct 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 cattle slaughter dynamics.


Cattle slaughter for the year-to-date through the week ending September 26, 2020 was down 3.6 percent year over year. This includes a 4.2 percent decrease in steer and heifer slaughter; a 1.2 percent decrease in total cow slaughter; and a 3.7 percent decrease in bull slaughter so far this year. Varying slaughter patterns across different cattle classes make it difficult to project where slaughter will end up as the year closes out.


The biggest component of cattle slaughter is steer slaughter, which is down 4.3 percent year over year through late September. Through March, prior to COVID-19 impacts, steer slaughter was up 5.1 percent year over year. By the end of May, the cumulative steer slaughter for the year to date was down 7.2 percent before slowly recovering through the summer and early fall. In the last eight weeks, steer slaughter in August and September has been up 2.2 percent year over year. Steer slaughter is projected to increase 3.0 - 3.5 year over year in the fourth quarter leading to an annual total down roughly 2.5 percent compared to last year.


In the first half of the year, cumulative heifer slaughter was down 5.1 percent. In the third quarter of the year, heifer slaughter was down 1.8 percent year over year leading to the current year-to-date decrease of 3.9 percent year over year. Heifer slaughter is projected to be down 2.0 2.5 percent year over year in the fourth quarter. This would result in an annual heifer slaughter total down roughly 3.5 percent compared to 2019.


Dairy cow slaughter has decreased sharply...


... Beef cow slaughter is up 2.7 percent...