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Oklahoma State University

Beef herd rebuilding

Tue, October 11, 2016
Publication: 
Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources

Oklahoma experiences 25% year-over- year herd expansion

Herd of cattle

May 2015 was the wettest month ever recorded in Oklahoma, with a statewide average of nearly 15 inches of rain. But even flood waters that inundated pastures, ruin stored hay and washed out roads and fences could not stop the trajectory of beef herd rebuilding taking place this year.

“Oklahoma started 2015 with a 25 percent year-over- year increase in beef replacement heifers, indicating relatively aggressive herd expansion,” said Derrell Peel, OCES livestock marketing specialist. “Relief from our recent historic levels of drought likely will push heifer retentions to still higher levels, helping to moderate feeder supply growth and supporting feeder cattle prices into 2016.”

The 2015 beef cow inventory for Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas showed a decline of more than 1.1 million head from 2008 and represented 42 percent of the nation’s total beef cow herd reduction during the seven-year span.

“Cattle producers in the southern plains states will be playing a central role in U.S. beef herd expansion, and that should be good for related agribusinesses and the Oklahoma economy,” Peel said.

Oklahoma is the nation’s third-largest producer of beef cows and fifth-largest producer of cattle and calves, with the state’s five-year- average for cash receipts exceeding $3.18 billion, according to USDA data.

Peel said the number of cattle needed in the U.S. beef herd ultimately will depend on consumer demand for beef and export markets. In the short term, however, the situation should be strongly positive for Oklahoma cattle producers during the first couple of years of herd expansion.

By Donald Stotts

College News Network

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