According to USDA’s Cattle Inventory report, released Friday, all cattle and calves in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2014 totaled 87.7 million head, 2% below the 89.3 million on Jan. 1, 2013. This is the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 82.1 million on hand in 1951.
All cows and heifers that have calved, at 38.3 million, were down 1% from the 38.5 million on Jan. 1, 2013. This is the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cows and heifers that have calved since the 36.8 million head in 1941.
Record-high prices for fed cattle, feeder cattle and wholesale beef, plus significantly lower hay and grain costs, certainly set the stage for long-awaited expansion in the beef cowherd. However, expansion is not guaranteed.
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