As of July 1, there were 95.0 million head of cattle on U.S. farms, according to the Cattle report published last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). This is the lowest inventory for July 1 since the series began in 1973.
Other key findings in the report were:
- The 2014 calf crop is expected to be 33.6 million, of which 24.3 million were born during the first half of the year and 9.3 million are expected to be born in the last six months of 2014.
- With tighter cattle supplies and historic cattle prices, all cattle on feed decreased to 11.6 million, down 6 percent from 2012.
- Of the 95.0 million cattle and calves, 39.0 million were all cows and heifers that have calved.
- Of the 39.0 million cows and heifers that have calved, 29.7 million head were beef cows and 9.3 million were milk cows.
Faced with budget reduction in fiscal year 2013, NASS discontinued the July edition of the Cattle report. The agency was able to bring the report back this year, however, following the complete reinstatement of the budget for its estimates program.
To obtain an accurate measurement of the current state of the U.S. cattle industry, NASS surveyed more than 10,000 operators across the nation during the first half of July. NASS interviewers collected the data by mail, telephone and through face-to-face personal interviews. NASS asked all participating producers to report their cattle inventories as of July 1, 2014 and calf crop for the entire 2014 calendar year.
The semiannual Cattle report and all other NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov.