U.S. beef producers face higher input costs this year, predicted up 7% when compared to 2021.  ERS reported earlier this week the farmer’s share of the retail value of beef also increased year over year, but rising input costs, especially for cattle feed, may limit farmers’ ability to benefit from higher cattle prices.


Feed expenses are the largest operating cost for cow-calf producers, comprising 75% of these costs in 2021.  Prices for beef cattle feed were up 16% in May 2022 relative to May 2021.  High fertilizer prices have contributed to increased feed costs, while drought conditions have squeezed feed grain and hay supplies.


The 2021-22 season-average farm price for corn, the primary grain fed to cattle, is currently projected at $5.95 per bushel, the highest since the 2012-13 marketing year.  Other feed grains, including sorghum, oats, and barley, are projected to increase in 2021-22 relative to 2020-21.


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