U.S. records lowest beef cattle inventory since 1962

(Debra Murphy/RealAgriculture)

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its biannual cattle inventory report, and it fell largely in line with expectations.

With drought being a significant driver in parts of the U.S., the herd liquidation that has occurred over the past couple of years is continuing, confirming a tight supply picture going forward.

According to the report, all cattle and calves in the U.S. as of January 1, 2023, totalled 89.3 million head, which is 3 per cent lower compared to the same time last year

All cows and heifers that calved, at 38.3 million head, added up to 3 per cent below the 39.4 million head on January 1, 2022. Meanwhile, beef cows were down 4 per cent from a year ago, marking the lowest beef cattle inventory since 1962. Milk cows were up slightly year-over-year, at 9.40 million head.

Steers weighing over 500 pounds and over as January 1 totalled 16.1 million head, which is also down 3 per cent year-over-year. For the same time frame, bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totalled 2.03 million, which is down 4 per cent.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for all feedlots totalled 14.2 million head — which is down 4 per cent from January, 2022.

As far as the calf crop goes, the USDA is estimating 34.5 million head, down 2 per cent from the previous year’s calf crop. Calves born during the first half of 2022 were estimated at 25.3 million head — down 2 per cent from the first half of 2021. Calves born during the second half of 2022 were estimated at 9.16 million head — which is 27 per cent of the 2022 calf crop.

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Categories: Cattle / Livestock / News / United States