July 1 Cattle Inventory Up Slightly; July 1 Cattle on Feed Down Slightly
July 27, 2020
All cattle and calves in the United States on July 1, 2020 totaled 103 million head, slightly above the 103 million head on July 1, 2019.
All cows and heifers that have calved totaled 41.4 million head, slightly below the 41.6 million head on July 1, 2019. Beef cows, at 32.1 million head, down 1% from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.35 million head, up 1% from previous year.
All heifers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2020 totaled 16.5 million head, 1% above the 16.4 million head on July 1, 2019. Beef replacement heifers, at 4.40 million head, unchanged from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.10 million head, unchanged from previous year. Other heifers, at 8.00 million head, 1% above a year earlier.
Steers 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2020 totaled 15.0 million head, up 2% from July 1, 2019.
Bulls 500 pounds and over on July 1, 2020 totaled 2.10 million head, unchanged from previous year.
Calves under 500 pounds on July 1, 2020 totaled 28.0 million head, down slightly from a year earlier.
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.6 million head on July 1, 2020, unchanged from previous year. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 84.1% of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2020, down slightly from previous year. The total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots), at 37.4 million head, up 1% from the 37.1 million head on July 1, 2019.
The 2020 calf crop in the United States is expected to be 35.8 million head, down 1% from last year. Calves born during the first half of 2020 are estimated at 26.1 million head, down 1% from the first half of 2019.
An additional 9.70 million calves are expected to be born during the second half of 2020.
"The Cattle Inventory Report came in as most analysts expected," said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart, "featuring a lower 2020 calf crop. However, the report did share that the total of all cattle and calves in the U.S. is up slightly from a year ago, which was not anticipated.
"To put logic behind the latest Cattle Inventory, we must remember the year the market has endured. Though most expected the inventory to be down slightly, we must ask ourselves, "When where producers supposed to market those cattle?" You'll then notice that the report shares that all heifers 500 pounds and over are up 1% (16.5 million head) and steers 500 pounds and over are up 2% (15.0 million head). Early this year producers had a minute window to market calves, but when we last chatted about the January 2020 Cattle Inventory Report, worries about COVID-19 were already starting to circulate," Stewart explained.
"As the calendar continues to turn and as we start to embark on the second half of 2020, it wouldn't be surprising to see steep culling on cowherds begin to take place," she said. "As cattlemen have been thrown a curveball from hell, and as pasture conditions begin to deteriorate, the fall's market could easily become saturated with cows and calves alike.
"But just as every coin has two sides, so does every market outcome. For the producers who are culling down with no intension of re-growing their herd, we share their heartache. But for the producers who have been keenly waiting for an opportunity to buy cheap cows with low interest rates, there is something to look forward to."
CATTLE ON FEED
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.4 million head on July 1, 2020. The inventory was slightly below July 1, 2019. This is the second highest July 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.03 million steers and steer calves, up slightly from the previous year. This group accounted for 61% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.41 million head, down 1% from 2019.
Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.80 million head, 2% above 2019. Net placements were 1.74 million head. During June, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 430,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 310,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 360,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 413,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 200,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 85,000 head.
Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 1.97 million head, 1% above 2019.
Other disappearance totaled 62,000 head during June, 6% below 2019.
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.6 million head on July 1, 2020. The inventory was unchanged from the July 1, 2019 total of 13.6 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head accounted for 84% of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2020, down slightly from the previous year.
"July's Cattle on Feed report was refreshing as all figures aligned closely with analyst's projections," Stewart said. "Two main points are: 1) Though placement numbers were higher than a year ago, the actual USDA numbers were still lower than many had hoped. This indicates there are still a lot of cattle to be placed as this spring's hiatus completely altered the normal cattle marketing scheme. Looking back over the last couple of months March's placements were down 23%, April's placements were down 22% and May's placements were up 1%. The 1% increase from May's placement and the 2% increase from June's placement isn't enough of an increase to offset the lack of placements in March in April.
"2) Though there were more cattle marketed in June 2020 than in 2019, the number is a little disappointing simply because we know that with the backlog of cattle slaughter speeds need to be unprecedented, which would ultimately contribute to higher marketings. Given that all figures closely align with the average estimates, this report shouldn't gravely affect the market in the upcoming weeks."