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Record prices lead to bigger herds, 1st time since 2007

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt says more abundant feed and record-high cattle prices have led to the nation’s cattle herds growing for the first time since 2007.

Hurt analyzed a U.S. Department of Agriculture semiannual report and found that cattle numbers have increased by slightly more than 1 percent following seven years of decline. Hurt says the expansion is likely to continue through most of this decade, saying it is common for the beef herd to be in expansion for four to six years.

He says with feed prices in 2015 expected to be the lowest in five years, higher weights will likely continue, and beef supplies for 2015 could be in a range from down 1 percent to up 1 percent.