USDA says no cattle report due to budget cuts
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday said it is suspending its twice-yearly Cattle Inventory report due in July, citing budgetary reasons. The report is an inventory of U.S. cattle and calves, and is normally issued twice a year. It was l...
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday said it is suspending its twice-yearly Cattle Inventory report due in July, citing budgetary reasons.
The report is an inventory of U.S. cattle and calves, and is normally issued twice a year. It was last released in January and was next due on July 22.
"The decision to suspend this report was not made lightly, but was necessary, given our available fiscal and program resources," the department said on its website ( http://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/Notices/2016/03_04_2016.php ).
It is not the first time the budget axe has fallen on the report. In 2014 it was reinstated after being shelved in 2013 when some $1.9 billion in USDA funding was eliminated by automatic spending cuts, or sequestration.
Analysts and traders had mixed reactions to word that the report would, again, be discontinued.
Jim Robb, director of the Colorado-based Livestock Marketing Information Center was surprised and disappointed about the eventual loss of the survey.
He said the report offers the first critical look at the number of calves being born in the spring and summer, an important tool to evaluate U.S. cattle production ahead.
"And in drought years, these types of numbers gives us a depiction of how the herd changes," said Robb.
However Joe Ocrant, President of Oak Investment Group in Chicago, said "I really don't think the futures market puts much credence in the cattle inventory reports whose outlooks are beyond the trading months listed by the exchange."
Typically, people who follow the industry have a good sense of what is occurring, especially with respect to whether the herd is continuing to expand, said Ocrant.