The size of the U.S. cattle herd continues to shrink, according to a USDA Cattle Inventory report released Feb. 1.
The report puts the total number of beef and dairy cows and calves in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2013, at 89.3 million head, down 2% from year-earlier levels. That’s the lowest Jan. 1 inventory since 1952.
At 29.3 million head, beef-cow numbers were down by 3% compared to January 2012 numbers and at their lowest levels since 1962. Since 2007, the national beef herd has shed 3.6 million head. U.S. dairy-cow numbers totaled 9.2 million cows as of Jan. 1, unchanged from those of a year ago.