Though 2013 is likely another year of beef cow herd liquidation, the improvement in conditions in the second half of the year may provide a period of stabilization that often occurs in the first year of herd expansion.

“As long as drought conditions continue to moderate the situation, beef cow herd growth of 2 percent is possible in 2014 with an additional 2 percent to 3 percent in 2015,” said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist.

More rapid growth is unlikely when all factors are considered. Among several implications, Peel believes, is an approximately 7 percent decrease in total cattle slaughter in 2014.

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