Optimistic Beef Outlook

Upside for 2021 Beef Market at 5% or More


By Victoria G Myers, Progressive Farmer/DTN



HELENA, Ala. (DTN) -- No guarantees, but it looks like the second half of this year is poised to be positive for cattle producers. Looking for a number? An upside of 5% to 8% is in the cards, depending to some degree on the hand drought-challenged regions are dealt moving forward.


Veteran cattle marketing expert with Oklahoma State University Derrell Peel shared those thoughts with attendees at the South Dakota State University Beef Day, cautioning he had a similar outlook for 2020.


"Last year at this time, we started 2020 saying we thought there would be modest improvement in cattle prices, maybe 5%. Then the pandemic hit, and we revised everything. We ended down 5% for the year," he said. "This year, we are back looking for modest improvement, whether it's calves, feeder cattle or fed cattle we are talking about. There will be some seasonal volatility, but modest improvements are possible. Much of this happens in the second half of the year."


Peel isn't oblivious to the potential impact of drought and higher feed prices, noting either or both of these challenges or some other "black swan event" could flip the positive outlook.