Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released two reports concerning cattle in the United States. First, the monthly Cattle on Feed Report shows the on feed numbers as of July 1 at 11.5 million head, two percent above July 1, 2018. This is the highest July 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.01 million steers and steer calves, down 2 percent from the previous year. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.47 million head, up 8 percent from 2018. Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.76 million head, 2 percent below 2018. Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 1.95 million head, 3 percent below 2018.
The second report was the biannual Cattle Inventory, which contains the inventory numbers and values of all cattle and calves. That report shows no changes. On July 1, the inventory totaled 103 million head, unchanged from the 103 million head on July 1, 2018.
All cows and heifers that have calved, at 41.7 million head, were slightly below the 41.8 million head on July 1, 2018. Beef cows, at 32.4 million head, were unchanged from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.30 million head, were down 1 percent from the previous year.
All heifers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2019, totaled 16.4 million head, 1 percent above the 16.3 million head on July 1, 2018. Beef replacement heifers, at 4.40 million head, were down 4 percent from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.10 million head, were down 2 percent from the previous year. Other heifers, at 7.90 million head, were 5 percent above a year earlier.
So do these reports show an upcoming contraction of the beef herd or a buildup? Gary Crawford hopes to answer that question: