US cattle inventory slips 2 percent

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – On Jan. 1, all US cattle and calves totaled 90.8 million head, 2 percent below the 92.7 million total one year earlier, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Agricultural Statistics Board, US Department of Agriculture. This marks the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all US cattle and calves since the 88.1 million recorded in 1952.

Totaling 39.1 million head, all cows and heifers that have calved were down 2 percent from the 40.0 million tallied one year earlier. Totaling 29.9 million, beef cows were down 3 percent from Jan. 1, 2011.

On Jan. 1, other class estimates vs. the change from Jan. 1, 2011, were: all heifers 500 lbs. or more, 19.4 million, down 1 percent; beef replacement heifers, 5.2 million, up 1 percent; other heifers, 9.6 million, down 2 percent; steers weighing 500 lbs. or more, 16.1 million, down 2 percent; bulls weighing 500 lbs. or more, 2.1 million, down 5 percent; calves less than 500 lbs., 14.1 million, down 3 percent; and cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots, 14.1 million, up 1 percent.

The total of calves under 500 lbs., combined with other heifers and steers more than 500 lbs. outside of feedlots was 25.7 million, down 4 percent.

Last year’s calf crop was estimated at 35.3 million head, down 1 percent from 2010. This marks the smallest calf crop since 1950’s 34.9 million head. During the first half of 2011, calves born are estimated at 25.7 million, 1 percent down from 2010.

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