The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released the third descriptive report from its Beef 2007–08 study. The report, Part III: Changes in the U.S. Beef Cow-calf Industry, 1993–2008, was produced by APHIS’ National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS). Beef 2007–08 is the third national study of the U.S. beef cow-calf industry conducted by NAHMS.

Highlights from the third Beef 2007–08 descriptive report include:

  • Despite heavier weaning weights in 2007, the average age of calves at weaning decreased from 221 days in 1997 to 207 days in 2007.
  • The percentage of calves marketed with horns decreased from 8.4% in 1992 to 6.3% in 2007.
  • Following an increase from 1992 to 1997, the percentage of operations that utilized handwritten records was similar between 1997 and 2007 (79.1% and 78.6%, respectively).
  • The percentage of operations that used an on-site computer for recordkeeping increased from 1992 to 2007 (4.7% to 17%, respectively). Despite this increase, less than one out of five operations used an onsite computer for recordkeeping in 2007. The use of any recordkeeping system has remained stable over the last 10 years.
  • The percentage of bulls on operations that performed a semen test, scrotal measurement, or Tritrichomonas culture increased from 1997 to 2007.
  • The percentage of replacement heifers requiring no assistance during calving increased slightly from 1997 to 2007 (83.3% and 88.4%, respectively).
  • The percentages of heifers and cows requiring no assistance were similar in 1992 and 1997.
  • The January 1, 2008, number of beef cows was 97.2% of the 1993 number. The number of beef cows changed little from 1993 (33.3 million head) to 2008 (32.5 million head).

Part III: Changes in the U.S. Beef Cow-calf Industry, 1993–2008 is available at the NAHMS website.