Small gain in U.S. cattle herd

Small gain in U.S. cattle herd

The USDA annual cattle inventory revealed cattle producers are slowly expanding the U.S. cattle herd.


U.S. cattle producers added 1.3 million head to the nation’s cattle herd over the last year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released cattle inventory report.

On January 1, 2015 the total number of cattle and calves in the U.S. equaled 89.8 million head, up 1% from a year ago.

Factoring in the U.S. cattle inventory is rebounding from a historical low numbers and biological lags in production compared to other species, the small gain marks the first few miles in the expansion journey for the U.S. beef industry.

Furthermore, all cows and heifers that calved totaled 39.0 million with beef cows accounted for 29.7 million head and milk cows at 9.3 million head.

Market analysts had reported that late last summer the beef industry had turn corner and the expansion phase has begun.  This is reflected in the latest NASS figures which reported 4% more replacement heifers – or 5.8 million head- in U.S. cattle herds this year. 

Milk replacement heifers totaled 4.6 million head, increasing only 1% from January 1, 2014.

The 2014 calf crop was estimated at 33.9 million head, up 1% from 2013.

Meanwhile, cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in feedlots penciled at 13.1 million, up 1%.

The combined total of calves under 500lbs., and other heifers and steers over 500lbs. outside of feedlots was 25.2 million, up 1%.

The NASS also reported steers weighing 500lbs. at 15.8 million head and bulls weighing over 500lbs. at 2.1 million head.

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