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    Livestock: Cattle Inventory Down 2% from 2021 – DTN

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    All cattle and calves in the United States as of Jan. 1, 2022, totaled 91.9 million head, 2% below the 93.8 million head on Jan. 1, 2021, USDA NASS reported on Monday.

    All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.5 million head, were 2% below the 40.3 million head on Jan. 1, 2021. Beef cows, at 30.1 million head, were down 2% from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.38 million head, were down 1% from the previous year.

    All heifers 500 pounds and over as of Jan. 1, 2022, totaled 19.8 million head, 2% below the 20.2 million head on Jan. 1, 2021. Beef replacement heifers, at 5.61 million head, were down 3% from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.45 million head, were down 3% from the previous year. Other heifers, at 9.71 million head, were 1% below a year earlier.

    Steers weighing 500 pounds and over as of Jan. 1, 2022, totaled 16.6 million head, down 1% from Jan. 1, 2021.

    Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over as of Jan. 1, 2022, totaled 2.11 million head, down 5% from Jan. 1, 2021.

    Calves under 500 pounds as of January 1, 2022, totaled 13.9 million head, down 3% from January 1, 2021.

    Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 14.7 million head on Jan. 1, 2022. The inventory is up slightly from the Jan. 1, 2021, total of 14.7 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 81.9% of the total cattle on feed on Jan. 1, 2022, up 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 25.5 million head, was 3% below Jan. 1, 2021.

    CALF CROP DOWN 1%

    The 2021 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 2021 were estimated at 25.6 million head, down 1% from the first half of 2020. Calves born during the second half of 2021 were estimated at 9.46 million head, 27% of the total 2021 calf crop.

    REVISIONS

    All inventory and calf crop estimates for July 1, 2020, Jan. 1, 2021, and July 1, 2021, were reviewed using calf crop, official slaughter, import and export data, and the relationship of new survey information to the prior surveys.

    Based on the findings of this review, July 1, 2020 all cattle and calves increased by 0.1%. January 1, 2021, all cattle and calves increased by 0.2% and 2020 calf crop increased by 1.0%. July 1, 2021 all cattle and calves decreased by 0.1% and 2021 calf crop decreased slightly.

    State level estimates were reviewed and changes were made to reallocate inventory estimates to the United States total.

    DTN ANALYSIS

    “Cattlemen across the U.S. have anxiously been waiting to see the market’s latest Cattle Inventory Report, and as we suspected, the market has fewer beef cows than years past,” said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart.

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    “All cows and heifers that have calved totaled 39.5 million head, which is 2% less than January 2021. Beef cows totaled 30.1 million head, which is 2% fewer than in January 2021. Beef replacement heifers totaled 5.61 million head, which is down 3% from a year ago. Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 16.6 million head, which is 1% less than a year ago.

    “Monitoring the numbers of the U.S. beef cowherd is one of the more insightful pieces of data a cowman can use when trying to forecast demand in the year and/or years ahead. As simple supply and demand economics work, this year, there will be fewer cows contributing calves to the marketplace, which should yield stronger prices from the cow-calf sector all the way through the feedlot amid robust demand.

    “Drought conditions forced thousands of producers into liquidating females that historically they may have kept. It’s important to not only look at the beef cow inventory, but to also realize that beef replacement heifer numbers were down, as well, which indicates that the market is not likely at its peak for cowherd liquidation, and that female prices are likely to get higher — especially if cattlemen get moisture.

    “To put into perspective just how few beef cows there are in the market, this is the fewest beef cows that the market has had since 2015 when producers were rebuilding after the 2012 drought.”

    **

    DTN subscribers can view the full USDA Cattle inventory report in the Livestock Archives folder under the Markets menu. The report is also available at here.

    Class 2021 2022 % of previous year
    (1,000 head) (1,000 head) (percent)
    All cattle and calves 93,789.5 91,901.6 98
    All cows and heifers 40,286.0 39,500.1 98
    that have calved
    — Beef cows 30,843.6 30,125.1 98
    — Milk cows 9,442.4 9,375.0 99
    All heifers 500 lbs. and over 20,200.1 19,776.0 98
    — For beef cow replacement 5,803.1 5,611.5 97
    Expected to calve* 3,509.6 3,411.5 97
    — For milk cow replacement 4,608.5 4,450.6 97
    Expected to calve* 2,915.9 2,836.2 97
    — Other heifers 9,788.5 9,713.9 99
    Steers 500 pounds and over 16,787.8 16,579.7 99
    Bulls 500 pounds and over 2,210.5 2,109.6 95
    Calves under 500 pounds 14,305.1 13,936.2 97
    All cattle on feed 14,667.4 14,692.6 100
    2020 2021 % of previous year
    Calf crop 35,495.5 35,085.4 99

    *Replacement heifers expected to calve during the year.

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