Report Shows Cowherd Continues To Grow

By: Kansas Livestock Association

USDA’s January 1 cattle inventory report indicated cow numbers continue to be on the rise. According to CattleFax analyst Lance Zimmerman, total cow numbers are the largest since 2009, reaching 40.6 million, an increase of 2.7%. The number of cows that calved in 2016 was up 3% from the previous year, with the total number of replacement heifers increasing 1%. Zimmerman indicated this is the largest number of beef replacement heifers on U.S. farms and ranches since 1997, suggesting the cowherd likely will see additional growth into 2018, and perhaps even 2019, if margins and weather cooperate.

Overall, the U.S. cattle inventory increased 1.8% to 93.6 million head, pushing cattle numbers to the largest level this decade, according to CattleFax data. The Kansas cattle inventory saw the same upward trend in 2016, with all cattle and calves in the state as of January 1 totaling 6.4 million head, up 2% from a year earlier. Beef cows totaled 1.57 million head, up 6%. Milk cows totaled 150,000 head, also up 6%.

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