Cattle Industry Expert: Profitability Returning

Cattle at Bob Batey's property Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, in rural Mount Pleasant, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/KCRG-TV9)

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By Ben Hoppenworth

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A livestock specialist at Iowa State University says falling corn prices are generating some optimism that cattle farmers can again make money.

Historically high corn prices during the last several years drove up the cost of feed and many producers cut herd numbers as drought intensified.

Lee Schulz, a livestock specialist and assistant professor of economics, says producers have been in survival mode but are beginning to talk about expansion. There's interest in building new facilities and growing herds.

Feedlots made money on cattle sold in October, breaking a long streak of monthly losses.

He says it will take several years to build the herd with increased calf crops and increasing cattle supplies because of the time it takes for calves to mature.

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