With 41% of the nation in drought conditions, there is no doubt that lack of pasture is creating management challenges in the worst drought areas and likely leading to some regional destocking and relocation of cows.
Markets will no doubt evolve this fall and producers must continue to evaluate winter grazing potential under dynamic market conditions and profit potential may vary widely.
Friday's USDA cattle on feed report held a few surprises for cattlemen, and analysts are finding the available data a challenge after the turbulence witnessed the first half of 2020.
Preliminary GDP data suggest the U.S. experienced an unprecedented economic decline during the second quarter of 2020, leading to uncertainty about consumer beef demand for the remainder of the year.
USDA's release o Friday of Cattle on Feed and Cattle Inventory report data suggests backlog is decreasing in feedyards and beef cow numbers are tightening across cattle country.
Boxed beef prices have dropped to their lowest level since 2017, and beef production will continue at a pace above last year with carcass weights up 35 pounds year-over-year.
Trade data for May shows sharply lower beef exports, likely due to COVID-19 related disruptions in beef production and also in part due to decreased international beef demand.
There is much uncertainty about the future impacts of COVID-19 but even in the best of circumstances, the economic impacts are enormous, with some projections worse than the 2008 recession.