TEXAS cattle producers have been hit by a decline in domestic consumption, cheap imports and Asias financial crisis, reports the Financial Times.
The farmers are having to also cope with one of the driest spells on record and a resulting sharp rise in feed prices. Desperate ranchers who cannot afford feed are sending cattle to market, which is driving prices even lower.
Cattle prices reached 58¢/lb (35p/lb) last week. The National Cattlemens Beef Association estimates that production costs for farmers operating feedlots are up to 70¢/lb.
The loss of demand from Asia has not helped. The US exports 8% of production, 75% of which goes to Asia.
Imports from lower-cost producers in Australia, Canada and New Zealand have added to the industrys woes.
- Financial Times 01/09/98 page 32