CattleFax Vice President of Industry Relations Kevin Good told those attending last week’s Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, TX, trade will play a significant role in beef and cattle markets in 2020. He said expectations are that higher protein production will be offset by strong demand and increasing exports. During the year ahead, U.S. beef production will be record-large, reaching 27.7 billion pounds. However, Good projected increases in beef exports and decreases in beef imports will result in per capita beef supplies of 58.4 lbs., an increase of only .4 lbs. over last year.
“With strong demand for U.S. beef at home and rising demand overseas, the modest increases in supply will be more than offset by a growing consumer appetite for our product,” he said.
This growing demand, coupled with increasing prices at the consumer level, will be supportive of cattle prices in 2020. CattleFax projects fed steers to average $120/cwt., an increase of $3 from the previous year. Calf prices also are expected to move higher, with 550 lb. steers averaging $170/cwt., up $6 over 2019. Similarly, 750 lb. feeder steer prices are expected to be $6 higher than last year, averaging $150/cwt.
Although the market outlook appears to be positive for 2020, CattleFax CEO Randy Blach pointed out during his presentation that the U.S. beef industry needs to be vigilant and maintain a competitive posture.
“There is strong demand for our product, but that’s the result of our business paying attention to market signals and we’ve been producing a consistent, quality product that has gained a greater piece of that retail dollar. We need to protect that,” said Blach.