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2012 Drought Contributes To Lowest Cattle Herd Since 1952

Cattle feed lot contains 4,000 to 4,500 head of natural beef cattle.

Indiana consumers may soon see a decrease in the availability of beef. That‘s according to Purdue University Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt.

He says the state‘s beef herd is down by 18 percent since 2007 and the nationwide cattle population is down by 3.6 million. Hurt says cattle numbers are at their lowest level since 1952. This comes on the heels of last summer’s record-setting drought.

“The drought of 2012 is the latest contributor to reducing the beef herd,” Hurt says. “The financial implications of that are going to get spun off onto consumers and I think we’re probably looking in the rage of 4 to 6-percent higher beef prices.”

The dry weather ravaged feed supplies, sharply drove up corn and soybean prices and forced cattle producers to reduce their herds.

Hurt says since 2007, the beef industry has struggled to compete with other sectors for expensive feed and limited land resources that were converted to corn and soybeans.

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