Fewer cows simply mean fewer people involved in the industry and that means fewer thinkers, fewer ideas, less political clout and a host of other bad things.
But it doesn’t drive a commensurate reduction in beef output.
They haven’t even had a huge negative impact on cattle slaughter.
Those statements seem to be at odds, so what is going on?
First, as can be seen in the following chart, US cattle slaughter has stayed in a range of 32.7 to 33.9 million head for the past 6 years.
At its current year-to-date change of –4.3 per cent, it will break out of that range to the bottom side this year.
If the YTD rate continues through December, annual slaughter will be just over 32.1 million, the lowest level since 2005 and the lowest non-BSE-influenced level since 1992.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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