US Cattle Herd Contraction Continues

US - The US cattle herd continues to decline, with the United States Department of Agriculture reporting a 1.5 million head fall in the inventory for the third consecutive year, to 101.8 million head as at 1 July 2009. This is the smallest July US cattle inventory since records commenced in 1973, according to analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.
calendar icon 3 August 2009
clock icon 2 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

The report also indicated that beef supplies will remain tight, with some analysts expecting it to stay that way into 2011, as the 2009 calf crop fell 1.4 per cent, to 35.6 million head (pre-report estimates were expecting only a 1.2 per cent decline).

Despite significantly lower beef cow slaughter numbers so far this year, US beef cow herd figures as at 1 July 2009 indicated that liquidation is continuing, with the herd declining by 450,000 head as at 1 July 2009, to 32.3 million head. Dry conditions over the past year, particularly within the Texan region, has contributed to the continued decline in the US beef cow herd, alongside higher input costs and softer beef demand this year, causing losses for cattle backgrounders as feeder cattle prices have declined.

The number of heifers for beef cow replacement was down a further 2% on July 2008, to 4.5 million head. In order for the decline in the US beef cow herd to cease, beef cow slaughter will need to significantly decrease. Recently, pasture conditions across some regions within the US have improved and feed costs have dropped which could see beef cow slaughter fall even further as these factors provide incentive for US producers to retain their breeding herd.

The number of heifers for dairy cow replacement remained unchanged at 3.9 million head, despite significant losses experienced within the dairy industry. Dairy cow herd numbers though did drop two per cent, to 9.2 million head, with liquidation expected to continue for the rest of 2009, with another dairy herd retirement round set to occur over the next couple of months.

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.