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  • Miranda Reiman, Angus Media

‘Separating Years’ Ahead Blach Says

On TheAngus Conversation: Breeders need to prepare as cow herd numbers go down, prices go up.

It was a train wreck. That’s the only way to put the beef market of four decades ago, says Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax.

“We lost 12% of all people in agriculture in the decade of the ’80s, cattle prices fell out of bed,” he said on a recent episode of The Angus Conversation. “We lost, I want to say basically 400,000 beef cattle producers in the late ’70s through the mid-‘90s, we lost 16 million cattle out of our inventories, I believe 7 or 8 million beef cows. So, it was anything but fun.”

But then, the National Beef Quality Audit uncovered holes in the business, and cattlemen went to work. Beef demand reached record highs in the last few years, even with record supplies.

“Markets work if you let them work, they really do work,” Blach said.

Consumers say they want more high-quality beef, and they’re willing to pay for it.

Live cattle prices will trend higher in the near future, but there will be trying times ahead. The next few years will test even the best breeders, he suggests, as cow herd numbers drop to the lowest in recent history.

“This is a separating time, you need to make sure you're delivering, because we're going to have a lot of choices out here as we go through this declining beef cow number,” Blach said.

Listen to the entire episode, “Chasing Rabbits Wasn’t Fun and Other Wisdom from Randy Blach,” below, or by searching for The Angus Conversation anywhere you get your podcasts.


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