Create a free Feed & Grain account to continue reading

US cattle inventory declines by 2% in early 2024

Latest USDA data indicates a significant drops in beef cows and a slight reduction in milk cows.

Cattle Feeding In Barn Pixabay
Alexa | Pixabay

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released a report indicating a 2% decrease in the United States cattle inventory as of January 1, 2024, with the total number standing at 87.2 million head. This figure is down from the 88.8 million recorded at the start of 2023.

Key findings from the report include:

  • A total of 37.6 million cows and heifers that have calved, representing a 2% decrease from the 38.3 million on January 1, 2023.
  • Beef cows numbering 28.2 million, also down by 2% compared to the previous year.
  • A slight decrease in milk cows, totaling 9.36 million.
  • The calf crop for 2023 was estimated at 33.6 million head, a 2% decrease from 2022.
  • Cattle on feed as of January 1, 2024, were at 14.4 million head, up 2% from 2023.

To gather this data, NASS surveyed approximately 36,300 operators nationwide in the first half of January 2024, asking them to report their cattle inventories as of January 1, 2024, and the total calf crop for 2023.

The report also detailed other aspects of the cattle inventory:

  • Heifers weighing over 500 pounds totaled 18.5 million, a 1% decrease from the previous year.
  • Beef replacement heifers were down 1% at 4.86 million head.
  • The number of milk replacement heifers showed a slight decrease to 4.06 million.
  • Other heifers numbered 9.57 million, a 2% decrease.
  • Steers weighing over 500 pounds were down by 2% to 15.8 million head.
  • Bulls weighing over 500 pounds saw a slight decrease, totaling 2.02 million.
  • Calves under 500 pounds were down by 3% to 13.3 million head.

The calf crop born in the first half of 2023 was estimated at 24.7 million head, down 2% from the first half of 2022, while those born in the second half of 2023 were estimated at 8.89 million head.

The report also included revisions to previous cattle and calf inventory estimates based on new survey data and official slaughter, import, and export figures. These revisions resulted in a slight decrease in the total cattle and calves count for the middle and end of 2022 and the first half of 2023.

The full Cattle report and other NASS publications are available online at the NASS website. Additionally, NASS will host a live #StatChat on their Twitter account to answer questions about the report, offering stakeholders a chance to engage directly with the agency's experts.

Page 1 of 317
Next Page