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The Midwest Cattleman · February 25, 2021 · P3

                   February 25, 2021   Volume 27   No. 2

                       FEEDER SUPPLY FACTS                                          2020 COW SLAUGHTER AND 2021
                       By Derrell Peel - Oklahoma State University                      INVENTORY EXPECTATIONS

         USDA’s Cattle inventory re-                                          By Dr. Kenny Burdine, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Kentucky
      port provides lots of information                                       Cattle slaughter got a lot of at- considered  as  a whole, I  want
      but does not answer one import-                                       tention in 2020 as the sector raced  to  focus  this discussion on  cow
      ant question:  What is the inven-                                     to deal with labor challenges in  slaughter for three reasons. First,
      tory of feeder cattle available to                                    the spring that greatly impacted  cow slaughter was not impact-
      be placed in feedlots for finish-                                     processing volumes. At its lowest  ed the same as steer and heifer
      ing?                                                                  point, federally inspected cat- slaughter during the pandemic.
         We calculate an estimate of                                        tle slaughter was down by more  Secondly, cull cow prices were
      the supply  of feeder  cattle by                                      than  one-third  from  2019.  But  relatively strong last year, which
      summing the reported inven-                                           the processing industry showed a  created    additional   incentive
      tories of steers (over 500 lbs.),                                     lot of resiliency through summer   for culling. And third, 2020 cow
      other    (non-breeding)   heifers the reported inventory of cattle    as slaughter levels picked back  slaughter volumes impact beef
      (over 500 lbs.) and calves (under  on feed.  The resulting value is   up, despite the challenges the  cow numbers in 2021.
      500 lbs.) and then subtracting  an estimate of weaned feed-           pandemic created.                    The beef cow slaughter chart

                                                      continued on page 10    While cattle slaughter is often               continued on page 15
                                                                                      USDA’S ACTION ON RFID TAGS
      NUTRITION TRENDS FOR 2021 AND BEYOND                                                 CHALLENGED IN COURT
       PANDEMIC, INCREASED KNOWLEDGE LEAD TO CHANGES IN                     R-CALF and NCLA seek injunction from court barring APHIS
                   PERCEPTIONS OF FOOD, NUTRITION.                              from using advice and work from advisory committees.
                   By Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension                                  By Jacqui Fatka
         The pandemic and other factors     With unprecedented access to      In a Wyoming federal district
      in 2020 have not only changed the  research-based information, as  court, Harriet Hageman, senior
      way consumers relate to food, but  well as new technological tools,  litigation counsel for the New
      also how they evaluate their food  consumers are better under- Civil  Liberties Alliance,  filed  an
      choices and perceive nutrition in  standing the connection between  opening brief related to R-CALF
      general.                           nutrition and wellness, leading to  USA's Federal Advisory Commit-
                                         greater personalization of their  tee Act lawsuit against the USDA
                                         diets.                             regarding its mandate of radio
                                            According  to Texas A&M  frequency identification eartags.
                                         AgriLife experts, these and other  In addition to R-CALF USA, Wy-    agency, APHIS,  failed  to  comply
                                         trends in nutrition will continue  oming ranchers Tracy and Donna    with FACA’s statutory require-
                                         through 2021 and beyond.           Hunt and South Dakota ranchers    ments in establishing and using
                                                                            Kenny and Roxy Fox are plain-     the two advisory committees to
                                                      continued on page 12 tiffs in the case.                 gather information necessary to
                                                                              USDA and the  Animal and        implement RFID eartags.
                                                                            Plant Health Inspection Service      In April 2019, APHIS issued a
                                                                            set up two advisory commit-       mandate to U.S. cattle producers
       BEEF COW NUMBERS LOWER TO BEGIN 2021                                 tees to assist their RFID efforts,   to RFID eartags on all adult cat-
              Cattle have shifted away from drought states                  the  Cattle Traceability Working   tle moved interstate beginning
                             to greener pastures.                           Group  and the Producer  Trace-   January  2023.  The  mandate  in-
                                  By Scott Brown                            ability Council.  As filed by the   cluded a requirement that cattle
         The annual USDA Cattle In-                                         New Civil Liberties  Alliance in   producers register their premises
      ventory report confirmed the                                          the U.S. District Court for the   with the government.
      expectations of most analysts                                         District of Wyoming, the plaintiffs   R-CALF USA and the other
      — a decline in national beef cow                                      argue that USDA and its sub-                    continued on page 16
      numbers for the second consecu-
      tive year.
         At a little over 31 million head,
      beef cow numbers have dropped                                                                        Coming Sales-38
      by 533,000 head (−1.7%) from                                                                         Life is Simple-5
      the recent  cyclical  peak at the   States with cow decline                                          Market Report-8
      beginning of 2019. Even after         With cow-calf returns strug-
      two years of declines, the beef    gling due to the lowest cattle                                    Agribusiness
      cow herd size remains near that    prices in about a decade in 2020,                                 Directory-36
      of 2017 and  larger than  every    the big story regarding beef cow
      year from 2011 to 2016.
                                                      continued on page 10
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