Outlook Update Newsletter from Ag & Applied Econ., Clemson University

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.)

2000 as

% of 1999

CLASS   1998 1999 2000
CATTLE AND CALVES 99,744 99,115 98,048 99
COWS AND HEIFERS THAT HAVE CALVED 43,084 42,878 42,734 100
BEEF COWS 33,885 33,745 33,546 99
DAIRY COWS 9,199 9,133 9,188 101
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
OTHER HEIFERS 10,051 10,170 10,045 99
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
1999 as

% of 1998

1,997 1,998 1,999
CALF CROP 38,961 38,812 38,710 100



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

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)
  COWS PERCENT
OF 1999
REPLACEMENTS PERCENT OF 1999 1999 CALF CROP
PERCENT OF 1998
 
ALABAMA 100 86 97
ARKANSAS 100 100 101
FLORIDA 100 100 100
GEORGIA 101 100 100
KENTUCKY 97 97 97
LOUISIANA 103 95 102
MISSISSIPPI 98 75 100
NORTH CAROLINA 100 86 100
OKLAHOMA 100 106 99
SOUTH CAROLINA 100 95 115
TENESSEE 98 94 97
TEXAS 98 94 98
VIRGINIA 96 97 97
SOUTHERN TOTAL 99 94 100



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.


Beef Cow Operations

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
1998 1999
ALABAMA 30000 28000
ARKANSAS 31000 31000
FLORIDA 22000 21000
GEORGIA 23000 23000
KENTUCKY 50000 48000
LOUISIANA 15500 15500
MISSISSIPPI 26000 26000
NORTH CAROLINA 30000 28000
OKLAHOMA 62000 60000
SOUTH CAROLINA 11000 11000
TENNESSEE 55000 53000
TEXAS 147000 153000
VIRGINIA 29000 28000
SOUTHERN TOTAL 531500 525500


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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COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS--STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND SOUTH CAROLINA COUNTIES COOPERATING.

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