U.S. cattle imports were up 9 percent through June 2014 compared with year-earlier levels. Shipments from Canada have totaled 624,122 head in 2014, an increase of 56,423 head from the same period last year. Imports of slaughter cattle have declined this year but were more than offset by increased imports of feeder cattle. While feeder imports averaged 26 percent of total Canadian imports between 2009 and 2013, those shipments have averaged 38 percent of total imports this year. The average price for Nebraska feeder steers (7-8 cwt.) in July 2014 was 39 percent higher than a year earlier.
Prices have also risen in Canada but at a slower rate than U.S. prices; coupled with a stronger U.S. dollar, Canadian sellers can get better prices for animals by exporting to the United States. Imports of feeders from Mexico have also increased (+7 percent) despite low cattle inventories. Due to stronger demand for imported feeder cattle, the forecast for U.S. cattle imports in 2014 was raised to 2.150 million head, 6 percent higher than the 2013 level. The forecast for 2015 was also raised, by 75,000 head to 2.175 million.