Cattle Inventory Down Slightly, Calf Crop Down 1%
USDA’s annual Cattle Inventory report released Friday estimated the total U.S. herd on Jan. 1, 2021, at 93.6 million head, about 200,000 head fewer than in 2020.
All cows and heifers that have calved totaled 40.6 million head. The total beef cow number was 31.2 million head, 1% fewer than a year ago. Dairy cows totaled 9.44 million, up 1% from last year.
All heifers 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2021, totaled 20.0 million head, slightly below the 2020 estimate. Beef replacement heifers, at 5.81 million head, were up slightly from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.60 million head, were down 2% from last year. Other heifers, at 9.58 million head, were 1% above a year earlier.
Steers weighing 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2021 totaled 16.6 million head, up slightly from January 1, 2020. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2021 totaled 2.21 million head, down 1% from last year.
Calves under 500 pounds as of January 1, 2021, totaled 14.2 million head, down 1% from last year.
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 14.7 million head on Jan. 1, up slightly from last year.
Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 81.4% of the total cattle on feed on January 1, 2021, down slightly from the previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) at 25.7 million head, was slightly below last year.
Calf Crop Down 1 Percent
The 2020 calf crop in the United States was estimated at 35.1 million head, down 1% from the previous year’s calf crop. Calves born during the first half of 2020 were estimated at 25.8 million head, down 1% from the first half of 2019. Calves born during the second half of 2020 were estimated at 9.39 million head, 27% of the total 2020 calf crop.
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