The US cattle herd remains under liquidation pressure with USDA monthly cattle slaughter numbers demonstrating that the US Female Slaughter Ratio (FSR) is averaging 51.8% so far during 2022. The FSR is the percentage of female cattle slaughtered as a proportion of total cattle slaughter and, in a similar fashion to Australia, can highlight where the phase of herd rebuild or liquidation currently sits. In the USA an FSR above 48% signals herd liquidation is underway.
April slaughter data in the USA saw the monthly FSR dip to 50.0%, down from 53.3% in March, which is consistent with the seasonal pattern for a lower proportion female cattle slaughter through the northern hemisphere spring/summer. However the lower FSR in April wasn’t enough to bring the trend in the FSR back below levels seen during 2021. Indeed, the average annual FSR of 51.8% is the highest annual average level seen since records began in 1986.
An FSR this high, suggest that the US herd will likely decline more than 3% this year, based upon the line of best fit between the scatter plot of annual FSR to annual herd change. To be precise the current FSR level predicts a herd fall of 3.4% this season in the USA which, if this comes to fruition, could see the US herd drop to 90.4 million head which is the lowest herd since 2015.