STILLWATER, Okla. – During the past three weeks, improved pasture conditions have tempered the cattle herd liquidation after much movement between March and June, Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State Univ. extension livestock marketing specialist, recently told The City Wire. Despite the recent slowing, there has been a 3.4 percent increase in beef-cow slaughter this year vs. the same 2012 period, Peel said.

During the second half of 2013, Peel predicts beef cow slaughter to taper. He doesn’t believe, however, the slowdown will be enough to avoid net beef herd liquidation this year.

As of early July, Peel said 51 percent of US pastures and ranges are in good or excellent condition vs. 25 percent for the same time last year. This year, 25 percent of pastures and ranges were in poor or very poor condition, vs.43 percent last year.

Trending down over the past two months from $89.43 at the start of May, meat packer margins averaged $67.41 per head last week.