Cattle Inventory Report Adds to Ideas the Cattle Cycle May Be Peaking

Posted on 07/19/2019 3:26 PM

Today’s biannual Cattle Report suggest cyclical herd expansion may be coming to an end. The report showed the July 1 cattle population at 103 million head, steady with year-ago and in line with expectations. That compares to the July 2013 cyclical low of 96.3 million head.

A drop from year-ago levels for the U.S. cow herd added to ideas a cyclical peak is in the works. “The 200,000-head (-4.3%) drop in the number of heifers being retained for the beef cow herd, at 4.4 million, is a clear indication that producers have little intention to increase herd sizes at this juncture,” notes Pro Farmer Senior Economist Dan Vaught.

Despite the fact that the January report stated the U.S. cow population had increased 221,000 head, USDA is forecasting the 2019 calf crop at 36.3 million, which is 103,000 head below year-ago. The number of calves (weighing less than 500 pounds) is down 200,000 head from last year’s tally, which also suggests 2020 numbers will fall below those seen this year.

While the overall message of the report is that herd expansion is likely ending, increases in other heifer and steer numbers may weigh on feeder futures Monday.

 

USDA

Average trade estimate
(Percent of year-ago)

All cattle/calves (July 1)

100.0

100.0

Cow/heifers that have calved

99.8

99.7

Beef cows

100.0

100.0

Dairy cows

98.9

98.6

Heifers 500 lbs.+

100.6

100.2

Beef heifer replacements

95.7

98.5

Dairy heifer replacements

97.6

98.3

Other heifers

105.3

102.2

Steers 500 lbs.+

101.4

100.3

Bulls 500 lbs.+

100.0

100.1

All calves 500 lbs. and under

99.3

100.3

2019 calf crop

99.7

100.5

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