Market News & Headlines >> Cattle Inventory Report Confirms Further Herd Liquidation

Friday’s USDA semi-annual Cattle Inventory report confirmed that U.S. beef cattle producers have continued to liquidate their herds amid severe drought in parts of the Plains and high grain prices.

USDA pegged the total July 1 U.S. cattle herd at 98.0% of a year earlier and also pegged the U.S. cow herd at 98.0% of a year earlier. In actual numbers, the total herd size was 98.80 million head, down from 100.80 million a year earlier, while the cow herd totaled 39.80 million head, down from 40.60 million a year earlier.

The U.S. beef cow herd as of July 1, at 30.350 million head,  was only 97.6% of a year earlier, while the dairy cow herd was 9.450 million head or 99.5% of a year earlier.

The 2022 U.S. calf crop was estimated at 34.600 million head, 98.6% of the year-earlier crop of 35.085 million head.

There were no indications the herd liquidation might be nearing an end. The supply of heifers 500 pounds or over retained for beef cow replacement purposes was pegged by USDA at 4.150 million head, only 96.5% of a year earlier.

The Cattle Inventory report pegged the total inventory of cattle in U.S. feedlots as of July 1 at 13.40 million head, unchanged from a year earlier, despite the smaller overall crop.