ECONOMIST PREDICTS STRONG BEEF PRICES
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Cattle producers from across the state attending the Federation's Commodity Organizational meeting earlier this month heard Dr. Walt Prevatt, agricultural economist with Auburn University; discuss the cattle market outlook for 2003 and beyond.
Prevatt said total cattle numbers are down, and cattle on feed numbers will remain below levels of a year ago. Fed cattle prices should average $73-74 cwt. during 2003, with top prices in the low $80's early in the year. Feeder (750 lb.) prices could average in low to mid $80's with calf (500 lb.) prices in the mid $90's.
Dr. Prevatt also said there are many factors that could impact the market. Such things as weather, grain prices, terrorists, disease threats, war and the economy all can affect cattle prices, he said. Dry weather in the Corn Belt could cause corn prices to fluctuate widely. A 50-cent increase per bushel causes a $7 to $8 cwt. drop in calf prices. Producers should monitor markets and look at options, futures or contracts to secure prices, said Raleigh Wilkerson, the Federation's Beef Division director.