Cattle Inventory Report Reflects Herd Expansion

February 1, 2013 08:29 AM
 

The U.S. cattle herd as of Jan. 1 at 89.3 million head was the smallest since 88.1 million head in 1952. The 2012 calf crop at 34.3 million head was the smallest since 33.7 million head were born in 1949. While both categories were slightly below the average pre-report guesses, neither was a major surprise.

The surprise in this report came from beef replacement heifers, which came in 2% above year-ago, signaling cattle producers have started rebuilding their beef herds. Much of the heifer retention is in areas outside of the Plains, with the exception of Texas, which had a heifer retention rate 9.1% greater than year-ago despite severe drought conditions. With more heifers being held back for breeding purposes, it points to less market supplies, which keeps the cattle market on pace for a 10-year cycle high later this year.

With the cattle inventory and calf crops coming in lower than anticipated and the start of herd rebuilding, the report data is bullish for cattle futures. This should help cattle futures build on this week's rebound off the recent lows.

Semiannual Cattle Inventory Report

USDA

Avg. trade guess

Range

% of year-ago
 

All cattle & calves

98

98.2

97.2-99.0

Annual calf crop

97

97.9

97.4-98.8

Total Cows/heifers calved

98

98.7

97.2-100.5

beef cows/heifers calved

97

98.5

96.4-100.7

milk cows/heifers calved

100

99.3

98.3-100.0

Heifers 500 lbs. and over

99

98.0

96.5-99.0

Beef replacement heifers

102

99.6

92.1-103.0

Milk replacement heifers

98

99.2

97.8-100.3

Other heifers

97

96.5

93.9-98.1

Steers 500 pounds and over

100

97.8

97.4-98.4

Bulls 500 pounds and over

98

97.3

95.0-99.5

Calves under 500 pounds

98

97.5

97.3-97.7

 


 

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