Record high cattle prices leads to new questions about risk and production management.
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High cattle prices have significantly increased capital requirements for stocker cattle, feeder cattle in feedlots or breeding animals for cow-calf production. The large dollar requirement means that overall financial risk is higher now in the cattle business. Market (price) risk and production risk are both important components of financial risk.
High cattle prices lead naturally to concerns about market price risk. The need for price risk management depends on several factors, including the producer’s financial vulnerability and capacity to handle price volatility. Overall market outlook is also an important consideration. Short run market volatility is always a concern and, at current market levels, a modest market correction could mean price changes of $10 to $30/cwt. depending on animal class.