Much has changed since my last blog (April 7, 2020), which focused on how COVID-19 had impacted cattle producers in California. At that time, widespread processing plant slowdowns and closures hadn't even been conceived and consumer purchasing patterns, driven by shelter-in-place orders, were the primary driver of wholesale and retail price increases for beef. In the intervening period, processing plant slowdowns and temporary shutdowns created a substantial bottleneck and market-wide impacts that reverberated throughout the supply chain.
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Among the myriad of concerns surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic is unease about the performance of the U.S. food supply chain. The recent pricing patterns and market dynamics observed in the beef industry have stimulated a lot of concern and discussion about what the future holds. In this blog I discuss the short-term demand impacts and how these changes have influenced beef prices, as well as a variety of factors that are likely to impact the supply side of the beef market. Many researchers and analysts have been considering these topics from a variety of angles. I endeavor here to …
Since I have started analyzing Western Video Market data, ranchers have significantly changed and enhanced their vaccination programs. In the 1997 data, only 20% of ranchers marketed cattle with respiratory vaccinations. The most recent data (2018) indicate that virtually all producers market lots with respiratory vaccines given prior to delivery. The flexibility of the video auction format and the detailed sales catalog allows ranchers to provide extensive vaccination descriptions including brands of vaccination, date administered, and frequency. This blog considers the question: do ranchers that market their cattle with branded vaccination programs (e.g., Zoetis or Western Video Market) earn more …