U.S. Cattle Populations Hit Record Low - USDA Reports

Feb 02, 2024

By: Farms.com  

The cattle industry faced a pivotal moment at CattleCon 2024, where the USDA Cattle Inventory Report was a hot topic. This latest report, the most comprehensive of the year, revealed that the U.S. cattle total has plummeted to a historic low not seen since 1951.  

With detailed state-by-state analysis, the report showed significant reductions in the top beef cow states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. 

The decrease in beef replacement heifers by 1.4% and beef cow numbers by 2.5% from the previous year signals a challenging period ahead for the industry.  

This contraction highlights a concerning trend of shrinking cattle herds, with no immediate prospects for growth. Industry experts, like Dr. Derrell Peel, acknowledge the slow and arduous path to rebuilding the cattle population. 

This significant reduction in cattle inventory could have widespread implications for the beef industry and agricultural markets. The report serves as a crucial indicator for farmers, ranchers, and industry analysts, shedding light on the current state and prospects of cattle farming in the U.S. 


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