The Changing Cost of Cattle Transportation
There has been lots of commentary among consumers about gas prices as we unofficially head into summer. Nationally, regular gasoline prices had begun slowly to come off of their all-time highs of $5.01 per gallon in June 2022, to a new low of $3.09 per gallon in January 2023. Prices have risen steadily over the last several months, to $3.57 per gallon, as of the last week in May 2023. Higher gasoline prices tend to reduce travel as total costs for vacations and trips increase. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel has also come down from its high of $5.78 per gallon in June 2022. But different from regular gasoline, it has continued to decline to $3.85 per gallon nationally. This puts diesel prices at similar nominal price levels as in 2012-2015.
Diesel is one of the primary inputs in the transportation of goods throughout the United States. Livestock hauling is no exception. Feeder cattle are generally transported long distances in the fall as they move from summer grazing to placement in backgrounding operations or directly into feedlots. Cattle, and other livestock in general, can handle transportation stress fairly well – to a point. Trucking feeder cattle long distances can impact animal health outcomes, and improper animal handling can lead to bruised or injured cattle. These negative impacts can generally be offset by appropriate stocking densities, proper trailer ventilation, correct animal handling techniques during loading and unloading, and truck and trailer sanitation.... continue reading on the UNL Center for Ag Profitability website