Record winter storms pummel cattle country

Livestock producers and processors have faced quite a challenge in recent weeks.

February 19, 2021

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Winter Storm Uri, the latest in a series of winter storms this month, pummeled much of the Heartland, from deep into Texas on through the High Plains and across the Midwest. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 73% of the Lower 48 states was covered in snow by Wednesday — the largest snowcover for a single day since NOAA began tracking this data in 2003.

With extreme cold temperatures lasting far longer than normal in several regions affected by the storm, the implications for livestock producers and marketers are significant. During a Feedstuffs 365 live panel this week, Dennis Smith with Archer Financial predicted that cattle slaughter will likely drop 40,000 head this week due to the situation. 

Although most of the issues with plant shutdowns are happening in Texas due to the significant strain placed on the state’s electric grid, plants in Kansas were also being idled, shut down, or slowed.

In this episode we talk with Oklahoma State University agricultural economist Derrell Peel, who was – in his words – hunkered down due to the storm during our conversation. He provides some insights into what cattle and hog producers are up against, and what it might mean for cattle and hog slaughter, as well as how the extreme weather might affect consumer meat demand in the coming days.

RELATED STORY: Winter Storm Uri batters agriculture supply chain

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