The expanded testing for “Mad Cow” disease has drawn attention when “inconclusive” tests are announced, but two recent instances in which a second-round of tests were ordered have found neither animal to be saddled with the disease. Iowa State University extension livestock economist Gary May says the tests may’ve had some slight impact on the markets. He says most of the volatility has been in the futures market. He says the last time he checked cash prices, they were down a little from the week before, in the mid-80s. But he says we’re entering the period where prices are at their seasonable low. He thinks the impact of the testing news will continue to fade. He says the more of the inconclusive tests we see that’re negative, the less the market will react to them, as it will be the “cry wolf” syndrome. When it comes to consumers, May doesn’t think all the news of inconclusive tests won’t be a big deal either. May says he really doesn’t think its going to impact domestic consumers all that much as they’ve already been through the one positive in the U.S. and the positive in Canada, and seemed to take it in stride. May says it’s not surprising that consumer confidence remains high. He says the industry and U-S-D-A had been preparing the public all along that there might be another case of “Mad Cow” found, and he doesn’t see the consumer attitude changing. While the reports of the tests may raise some concerns among producers, May says they have to still be feeling okay. He says these are the highest prices that feeder-cattle producers have ever had, and he can’t see their optimism changing.
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