Beef, meat and protein in general have a positive outlook in the markets into 2024, according to US economist Dan Basse. He told the Barnett Hall conference last week that “the bullish beef story will last well into 2024”.

He explained that US beef cow numbers are at their lowest since 1962. Pasture availability is also at its lowest level in the US since 1909.

The founder and managing director of AgResource Company said: “I don’t have grass in the US any more. You in Ireland are blessed with grass and rain, and opportunity.

“Somewhere along the line there will be this shift over in terms of the beef fundamentals, because we are relatively bullish thinking about beef for the next two to three years.”

He added: “They’re trying to prod the dairy men in the United States to think about dairy beef.”

Basse explained that 700,000 dairy cows need to produce a beef calf. The market is pushing farmers in this direction. A Holstein bull calf in the US is worth about $18, it doesn’t cover the sexed semen, he commented, while an Angus could make $220 depending on location.

Dairy prices

The US economist was not so positive on dairy prices. In the US, dairy cow numbers are coming down and milk prices are at their lowest levels since the pandemic.

He explained that China is not purchasing as much whey as its dairy herd is expanding. So, he says new markets are needed for whey. However, he does believe that in the longer term “the food industry will understand that the cheapest source of protein comes from a dairy cow. Not in terms of her meat, but in terms of her milk”.