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Abstract

Cattle producers tend to market cattle about the same time each year. However, exogenous (external) factors can influence when cattle are marketed. An example of an extremely short-run factor is precipitation events such as rain or snow. Weather events can prohibit cattle producers from getting a truck and trailer to the cattle loading facilities, resulting in delayed marketing (sale). However, these events are generally short-lived and only change sales dates by a week or two. Alternatively, there are other events that can cause cattle producers to change or delay marketing cattle, because such events negatively influence cattle prices. Events that negatively influence cattle prices may be short-lived, or they can have influence on the market price for an extended period of time. When a short-term event becomes a long-term event with an unknown ending, the cattle producer cannot know for certain how long prices will be depressed. Thus, when cattle prices decline, cattle producers tend to delay marketing to give the market time to recover or regain some of its losses. This can be a useful strategy for a short period of time, but most cattle producers have finite resources, which means they cannot hold onto their cattle indefinitely. This strategy does not even consider that cattle are “perishable products,” in that they will continue to grow as time passes and will eventually have to move through the beef supply chain. Coronavirus is one of those events that has resulted in producers changing their cattle marketing plans in the state of Tennessee and across the country because it has had a negative effect on cattle prices. The purpose of this publication is to illustrate how cattle marketing receipts of feeder and stocker cattle have been influenced by coronavirus by providing information on the quantity of cattle that were delayed moving through the beef supply chain.

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