The key to even higher prices in 2014 rests with growing beef demand.  There is ample evidence that beef demand has been growing very slowly over the last couple of years.  Beef demand must grow faster to support sustained higher wholesale and retail beef prices.  Another big corn crop in 2014 will be needed to keep feed costs lower and sustain calf and feeder prices.  And, of course, continued rainfall and drought recovery will be needed for ranchers to hang on to a few more cows and heifers, beginning a herd expansion. 

Cow-calf producers will likely see record profitability in 2014 with high cattle prices and lower feed prices.  However, producers rebuilding from the drought will face very high prices for breeding females.  Feedlot profitability will continue to struggle as record high feeder cattle prices will offset lower feed costs in feedlot break-evens.

 

Also of interest:

Southwest Ag Economic Outlook

2014 feed grain outlook — will use catch up with supply?

U.S. agricultural trade continues as bright spot