Cattle Inventory Report: Herd Rebuilding Begins

January 27, 2012 08:37 AM
 

Most of the categories in this afternoon's Cattle Inventory Report lined up well with the average pre-report trade guesses. But there was one major exception -- beef replacement heifers. That came in well above the average guess and above the top end of the guess range at 101% of year-ago. That number suggests the rebuilding of the U.S. beef breeding herd is underway.

But there is a distinct drought impact with Texas and Oklahoma beef replacement heifer numbers well below year-ago. Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana all saw more heifers retained for breeding. In the Corn Belt, Iowa and Missouri are also expanding the beef herd. Another pocket of expansion is in the Southeast, with Georgia, Florida and Alabama retention numbers up.

The impact from the much-higher-than-anticipated beef replacement heifer numbers points to an even more bullish scenario in the 2012 fed cattle market as these replacement heifers will take beef off the market. Combined with a calf crop that was down 1%, the 2012 market cattle supply will be even tighter than already expected.

The total number of calves under 500 lbs. are down 3% from year-ago, pointing to a continued tight feeder calf supply.

On the dairy side, there are hints the herd expansion may be ending, as milk replacement heifers are (finally) lower than year-ago.

Semiannual Cattle Inventory Report

USDA

Avg. trade guess

Range

% of year-ago
 

All cattle & calves

98

98.5

97.4-99.1

Annual calf crop

99

99.1

98.4-99.5

Total Cows/heifers calved

98

98.1

96.4-99.2

beef cows/heifers calved

97

97.5

95.5-98.8

milk cows/heifers calved

101

100.2

98.8-100.9

Heifers 500 lbs. and over

99

99.6

98.3-101.1

Beef replacement heifers

101

97.8

96.0-99.8

Milk replacement heifers

99

101.8

100.7-103.1

Other heifers

98

99.4

96.8-101.8

Steers 500 pounds and over

98

98.7

97.7-99.4

Bulls 500 pounds and over

95

97.5

95.2-99.4

Calves under 500 pounds

97

97.9

97.2-99.3

 


 

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