February 3, 2015


US beef cattle leaps by 2% despite tight supply: USDA



Albeit the ongoing challenges of a tight cattle supply, US had witnessed a 2% jump in its beef cow inventory, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported.


The organisation also stated that the overall number of cattle and calves on local farms stood at 89.8 million head. Calves took up 33.9 million of that figure, a 1% rise from 2013. Those born during the first half of 2014 were estimated at 24.6 million, a slight increase from the year before.


The rest of 89.8 million head consisted of 39 million cows and heifers.


In meantime, milk cows had swelled to 9.3 million. Cattles on feed reported a 1% growth from 2014, at 13.1 million.


Generally, it had been expected that rebuilding of supplies will be moving at a laborious pace. Hence, the current development may have taken some experts by surprise.


"...the report showed more beef cows added than I expected," Dr David Anderson, a livestock specialist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, commented. He explains that the expansion of production will be supported by record high prices and strong profits. These development is likely to stay for 2015 as long as consumer demand for beef remains upbeat.


Notably, the south-central state of Texas had seen a 7% increase in cows during January this year, compared to the same period in 2014.


Anderson believes that with the compilation of final figures, the biggest year-over-year upsurge, since 1972–1973, might emerge for the state's cattle.

The trend will also come as a reassurance for farmers and producers since the present number of Texan cattle is said to be the lowest since 1959, state-wise, and 1962 for the entire country, not including 2014.


Beef cows in Texas are still holding up reasonably well in their numbers; those are recorded at close to 4.2 million, a slight lead past 3.91 million in 2014. However, the latest figure is at just about the same level or even lower than the 4.2 million in January 2013.


Reflecting the recovery that Texas had underwent ever since a severe drought struck the state in 2011, heifers retained for breeding cows have been growing at a gradual pace. Progress is also reported for heifers used for beef cow replacements which show increases of 4% nationwide and 7.6% state-wise, Anderson said.


"In absolute numbers, the 270,000 head cow herd increase this year is the largest since 1993-1994."


Meanwhile, calves on small grain pastures in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas had grew to 300,000 head from the 1.6 million recorded in 2014, and 1.9 million in 2015, Anderson added.


In addition, the rising presence of stocker cattle in pasture may signal that a larger number may soon enter the market by March-May this year, compared to the same period in 2014.

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