Market News & Headlines >> U.S. Cattle Herd Expansion Continues
Although the supply of cattle in all U.S. feedlots at the start of 2017 was down from a year earlier, the overall trend is toward larger cattle supplies with producers continuing to expand their herds, according to data in USDA’s annual Cattle Inventory report released on Jan. 31.
The Jan. 1 U.S. cattle herd was 1.7 million head larger than a year earlier and was the largest in seven years, according to USDA. All U.S. cattle and calves as of Jan. 1 totaled 93.6 million head, or 101.8% of a year earlier, at the high end of trade estimates that averaged 101.1% of a year earlier, according to a Reuters News Service survey.
USDA pegged the U.S. cow herd at nearly 40.6 million head or 102.7% of a year earlier, above trade estimates that averaged 101.1% of a year earlier. The beef cow herd was 103.5% of a year earlier, while the milk cow herd was 100.4%.
The supply of heifers retained for beef cow replacement at 101.2% of a year earlier was above the range of trade estimates that averaged 99.2%, while the supply of heifers retained for milk cow replacement was 98.8% of a year earlier, toward the low end of expectations.
USDA reported a 2016 calf crop of 35.08 million head, 102.9% of a year earlier, topping trade estimates that averaged 101.8% in a range from 101.4%-102.2%.
The total supply of cattle in all U.S. feedlots as of Jan. 1 was 99.3% of a year earlier, confirming tight market-ready cattle supplies in the near term.