Semi-Annual Cattle Inventory Summary

US - Semi-Annual Cattle Inventory Summary, by Ron Plain & Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri-Columbia
calendar icon 8 March 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain
USDA's semi-annual cattle inventory report for early 2007 showed little year-over-year growth and, due to downward revisions in the 2006 inventory, a smaller herd than most analysts had expected.

Revisions. USDA lowered their estimate of the January 2006 inventory of cattle and calves by 400,000 head (0.4%). The estimate of the January 2006 beef cow inventory was cut by 259,000 cows (0.8%) and the size of the 2005 calf crop was reduced by 205,000 head. The 2006 calf crop estimate was reduced by 333,000 head from the July 2006 inventory report.

Total Inventory. The total number of cattle and calves in the U.S. on January 1, 2007, was 97.0 million head, up 0.3% from 2006. The number of cattle in the U.S. at the start of 2007 is 99,000 head smaller than the original estimate of the January 2006 inventory.

Calf Crop. The 2006 calf crop is estimated to have totaled 37.567 million head, down 8,000 head compared to the 2005 calf crop and the second crop smallest since 1951.

Cow Herd. The inventory report says the number of beef cows that have calved (32.894 million) is 0.3% smaller than on the same date last year and the second lowest January 1 total since 1991. The number of dairy cows that have calved (9.129 million head) was 0.7% larger than a year ago.

Replacement Heifers. There were 5.877 million beef heifers being held on January 1 to add to the cow herd, 0.5% fewer than on January 2006. The number of dairy replacement heifers, 4.31 million head, was up 0.8% from 12 months earlier. When combined with the inventory of cows that have calved, these data imply the number of cows and heifers that will calve in 2007 will be a small fraction fewer than in 2006.

Feeder Cattle Supply. At the start of the year, the number of steers weighing 500 pounds and over was up 1.7%; the number of 500 pound plus heifers not being held for cow replacements was up 1.0%, and the number of calves weighing less than 500 pounds was down 0.1% from a year ago.

Cattle Slaughter. For 2007, cattle slaughter should be close to a year ago. The number of cattle on feed January 1 was up 1.0% in total, with the number on feed in feedlots with 1,000 head or more one time capacity up 1.4%. The feeder cattle supply is up a bit, but cow slaughter is expected to be lower this year than last.

Price Outlook. Limited change in cattle slaughter and the expectation of good beef demand means that fed cattle prices are likely to spend most of the year in the upper $80s with a few weeks in the low $90s. With corn prices far above $3/bushel, the outlook for feeder cattle is not as bright. Look for 800 pound steers to average in the mid to upper $90s and 550 pound steer calves to average a bit under $120/cwt.

Summary. This report indicates the growth in the cattle herd since the cycle low in 2004 has been quite small. The dry weather in the central U.S. during 2006 appears to have temporarily stopped the herd expansion. Slaughter of cull cows was 11.8% higher in 2006 than in 2005. The number of dairy cows and replacement heifers is worrisome given very high feed prices and merely average milk prices.

The January 1 data from the inventory report is in the table below.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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