Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cornhusker Economics, August 19, 2015,


Copyright 2015 University of Nebraska.


Annual average prices over the last 35 years for feeder steers (500-600 lb and 700-800 lb) and fed steers for Nebraska are shown in Figure 1. The U.S. cattle history has well documented 10 to 12 year cycles of rising and falling production with inverse price cycles. Historical prices within the cattle industry cycles for Nebraska can be seen from the figure with similar low prices during the bottom of the cycles in 1986 and 1996. In 1996, higher than average feed grain prices resulted in the narrowing of the spread between lighter weight and heavier weight steers. Cattle prices have been hitting record highs for several years as beef cow numbers have been on the decline since 2006.