The U.S. cattle herd declined another 2% over the past year, totaling 87.7 million head, according to USDA’s annual report released today. That total is the lowest since the 82.1 million head counted in 1951.
(Click here to see the USDA release.)
Industry analysts expected the numbers to show a decline of about 1.5%, but USDA’s total came in about 250,000 head lower than pre-report estimates.
The 2013 calf crop was called the lowest since 1949 at 33.9 million head, a 1% decline from the 2012 number.
All cows and heifers that have calves totaled 38.3 million head, down 1 % from last year. That represents the inventory of all cows that have calved since 1941. The beef cow number totaled 29.0 million head, also down 1% from last year.
Beef replacement heifers totaled 5.5 million head, up 2%.
Other class estimates on January 1, 2014 and the change from January 1, 2013, are as follows:
- All heifers 500 pounds and over, 18.8 million, down 2%.
- Beef replacement heifers, 5.5 million, up 2%.
- Milk replacement heifers, 4.5 million, unchanged.
- Other heifers, 8.7 million, down 5%.
- Steers weighing 500 pounds and over, 15.4 million, down 3%.
- Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over, 2.0 million, down 1%.
- Calves under 500 pounds, 13.3 million, down 4%.
- Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots, 12.7 million, down 5%.
- The combined total of calves under 500 pounds, and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds outside of feedlots was 24.7 million, down 3%.
Pro Farmer analyst say: Looking forward, cattle producers are rebuilding their beef herds, but at a slightly lower pace than was expected. Read the full Pro Farmer analysis.