THE US CATTLE HERD hit 103 million last month — and is expected to grow until 2020.
And that will continue to pressure cattle prices to fall.
In a major threat to Australian cattle producers and meatpackers, the USA expects reduced imports while at the same time increasing exports of prime cuts to export markets, including China which only opened-up earlier this year after a 14 year ban was lifted.
US meatpacker Tyson Foods said after a tough run, beef was now cost competitive — Tyson is also a major processor of pork and chicken.
Threats include currency and the lack of labour (low unemployment and slowing of Mexican migration was putting pressure on wages). Drought in their mid-western states was causing an upsurge in cattle for sale.
But overall, Tyson believes the next three years will be one of expansion for the US beef processing industry.
Limits on the import of cheap Brazilian beef, over health concerns, also helps the US cattle industry.