US cattle inventory down 2%

There were 87.2 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms as of Jan. 1, 2024, according to the Cattle report published Feb. 1 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Other key findings in the report were:

  • Of the 87.2 million head inventory, all cows and heifers that have calved totaled 37.6 million.
  • There are 28.2 million beef cows in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2024, down 2% from last year.
  • The number of milk cows in the U.S. decreased slightly to 9.36 million.
  • U.S. calf crop was estimated at 33.6 million head, down 2% from 2022.
  • All cattle on feed were at 14.4 million head, up 2% from 2023.

To obtain an accurate measurement of the current state of the U.S. cattle industry, NASS surveyed approximately 36,300 operators across the nation during the first half of January. Surveyed producers were asked to report their cattle inventories as of Jan. 1, 2024, and calf crop for the entire year of 2023 by internet, mail, telephone, or in-person interview.