|OU 353||February 7, 2000|
JANUARY 2000 CATTLE INVENTORY: CONTINUING THE TREND
P.J. Rathwell, Extension Ag. Economist
The January 2000 cattle inventory report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA estimates total cattle in the U.S. at 99.1 million head (Table 1). This is a one percent decline from the January 1, 1999 level and two percent from January 1998. The declining trend in cattle numbers in the U.S. is continuing.
|TABLE 1: CATTLE AND CALVES: NUMBER BY CLASS AND CALF CROP|
UNITED STATES, JANUARY 1, (1000 HD.)
% of 1999
|CATTLE AND CALVES||99,744||99,115||98,048||99|
|COWS AND HEIFERS THAT HAVE CALVED||43,084||42,878||42,734||100|
|HEIFERS 500 POUNDS AND OVER||19,800||19,774||19,528||99|
|FOR BEEF COW||5,764||5,535||5,530||100|
|FOR DAIRY COW||3,968||4,069||3,952||97|
|STEERS 500 POUNDS AND OVER||17,189||16,891||16,652||99|
|BULLS 500 POUNDS AND OVER||2,270||2,281||2,294||101|
|CALVES UNDER 500||17,401||17,290||16,840||97|
% of 1998
All cows and heifers that have calved are estimated at 42.7 million head slightly below the 1999 estimate of 42.9 million head. Beef cows were placed at 33.5 million head, down one percent from 1999. Dairy cows were up one percent to 9.19 million head.
All heifers 500 pounds and over were estimated at 19,528,000 head, down one percent from 1999's level. Beef replacement heifers were estimated at 5.53 million head just slightly down from 1999. Dairy replacement heifers were estimated at 3.95 million head down three percent. Other heifers (heifers destined for feedlot placement) were estimated at 10 million head down one percent.
Steers weighing 500 pounds and over were estimated at 16.7 million head down one percent from the January 1, 1999 estimate. Calves under 500 pounds were placed at 16.8 million head down three percent. The 1999 calf crop was estimated to be 38.7 million head about equal to last year.
These estimates by the USDA suggest that the total number of beef cattle on U.S. farms and ranches is continuing to decline. This decline will occur for at least the next two to three years. The reason for this projection is the continued decline in the size of the calf crop and beef heifer retention numbers through the year 2002.
Southern states numbers suggest that the area has one percent fewer beef cows on hand in 2000 (Table 2). Louisiana and Georgia indicated slight increases. Alabama, Arkansas Florida, North and South Carolina and Oklahoma estimates indicated no change in cow numbers. The remaining states indicated slight declines.
|TABLE 2: SOUTHERN STATES BEEF CATTLE NUMBERS (1000 HD)|
|REPLACEMENTS PERCENT OF 1999||1999 CALF
PERCENT OF 1998
Smaller production is also expected in the Southeast, at least through the next few years, since heifer retention continues to decline. The southern states collectively indicated that heifer retentions would again be down in 2000. Only Oklahoma suggested an increase in heifer retentions.
The 1999 calf crop is estimated to be equal to the 1998 calf crop in the southeast compared to a three percent reduction nationwide. Only South Carolina indicated an increased calf crop in 1999.
The number of cow-calf operations in the U.S. was down one percent from 1998 to 1999 and three percent from 1997 (Table 3). Numbers were off slightly in the smallest class (1-49 head) and in the classes above 1,000 head per operation. Mid-sized classes (50- 999 head) increased slightly.
|TABLE 3: NUMBER OF BEEF COW OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTHEAST|
Beef operations in the southeastern declined by about 6,000 units between 1998 and 1999. All of the states declined or remained constant in farm numbers with the exception of Texas. Texas gained 6,000 new beef operations.
This estimate by NASS clearly indicate that the U.S. beef herd has declined from the cycle high in 1996. Future beef cattle numbers and the resulting production are nearly programmed. A smaller cow inventory and continued declines in heifer retention estimates suggest that the herd will continue to decline over the next few years.
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