All cattle and calves in the United States on July 1, 2018 totaled 103 million head, 1% higher than the same period a year ago, according to USDA.
The data suggests herd growth is gradually ending, though total cattle numbers will continue climbing slowing the next few years. The latest numbers support ideas that beef production will continue increasing over the next couple of years and add pressure to both fed and feeder cattle prices.
All cows and heifers that have calved totaled 41.9 million head, 1% above the 41.6 million head on July 1, 2017. Beef cows, at 32.5 million head, were up 1% from a year ago and dairy cows totaled 9.40 million head, unchanged from last year.
The 2018 calf crop in the United States is expected to be 36.5 million head, up 2% from last year. Calves born during the first half of 2018 are estimated at 26.6 million head, up 2% from the first half of 2017. An additional 9.90 million calves are expected to be born during the second half of 2018.
All heifers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2018 totaled 16.3 million head, 1% above the 16.2 million head on July 1, 2017. Beef replacement heifers, at 4.60 million head, were down 2% from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.20 million head, were unchanged from the previous year. Other heifers, at 7.50 million head, were 3% above a year earlier.
Steers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2018 totaled 14.5 million head, unchanged from July 1, 2017. Bulls 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2018 totaled 2.10 million head, up 5% from last year.
Calves under 500 pounds on July 1, 2018 totaled 28.4 million head, up 2% from July 1, 2017.
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.3 million head on July 1, 2018. The inventory is up 4 percent from the July 1, 2017 total of 12.8 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 84.8% of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2018, up slightly from previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) is 37.1 million head. This is 1% above the 36.9 million head on July 1, 2017.