The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released their annual cattle inventory report Friday afternoon (Jan 31). The report was highly anticipated given the continued shrinking herd size which was exacerbated in the past few years due to drought. While it was expected that the total number of beef cows would continue to shrink, industry participants and analyst were focused on the number of heifers held back for replacement as indication of rebuilding.
The report revealed that the number of all cattle and calves in the U.S. total 87.730 million head on January 1, 2014. This represents a drop of 1.76% compared to one year ago. Analyst were expecting a 1.40% decline. The total number of beef cows in the U.S. totaled 29.042 million head, down 0.87% from last year, while pre-report expectations called for a 1.50% decline. Beef heifers held back for replacement totaled 5.471 million head, up 1.18% from a year ago but less than the 3.10% that was expected. So, the current beef cow herd shrunk less than expected (but shrunk none-the-less) and the pace of replacements inched up again but also less than expected. In the end, it appears that the beef cow herd is moving toward an expansion phase. Calf prices continue to encourage this movement but producers appear to be making these moves at a slow and cautious pace.
The number of milk cows in the U.S. totaled 9.209 million head, down 0.10% from last year, the exact amount expected by analyst. Milk replacement heifers totaled 4.539 million head, down 0.25% from a year ago, while analyst expected a slight increase of 0.30%.
In Mississippi, the total number of all cattle and calves on January 1, 2014 came in at 930,000 head, up 2.20% compared to last year. The beef cow herd totaled 477,000, down 1.85%, and heifers held back for replacement totaled 91,000, a 16.67% jump. Also of note for Mississippi’s herd size was a reversion back toward 2012’s stocker/feeder numbers, where steers and heifers (not for replacement) over 500 pounds totaled 62,000 and 43,000 head, respectively, up 51.22% and 22.86% compared to 2013. Mississippi’s milk cow herd totaled 13,000 head, a drop of 1,000 from last year, while milk replacement heifers totaled 6,000 head, also a drop 1,000 head.
To veiw details about the inventories click HERE.