The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cattle Inventory report, released Feb. 1, shows that producers continued thinning their herds through 2001.

As of Jan. 1, 2002, all cattle and calves in the United totaled 96.7 million head, 1 percent below the 97.3 million on Jan. 1, 2001 and 2 percent below the 98.2 million two years ago. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 42.2 million, were 1 percent below both the 42.6 million on Jan. 1, 2001 and the 42.8 million two years ago.

Beef cows, at 33.1 million, were down 1 percent from both Jan. 1, 2001 and Jan. 1, 2000. Milk cows, at 9.11 million, were down 1 percent from both Jan. 1, 2001 and two years ago. Other class estimates on Jan. 1, 2002 and the change from Jan. 1, 2001 are as follows:


  • All heifers 500 pounds and over, 19.7 million, down slightly.
  • Beef replacement heifers, 5.56 million, down slightly.
  • Milk replacement heifers, 4.06 million, up slightly.
  • Other heifers, 10.1 million, down 1 percent.
  • Steers weighing 500 pounds and over, 16.8 million, up 2 percent.
  • Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over, 2.24 million, down 1 percent.
  • Calves under 500 pounds, 15.8 million, down 3 percent.
  • Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots, 13.9 million, down 2 percent.
  • The combined total of calves under 500 pounds, and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds outside of feedlots, 28.8 million, up 1 percent.
  • Calf Crop Down 1 Percent. The 2001 calf crop was estimated at 38.3 million head, down 1 percent from both 2000 and 1999.
  • Calves born during the first half of the year are estimated at 28.1 million, down 1 percent from both 2000 and 1999.
  • Cattle Operations Down 2 Percent. The number of operations with cattle totaled 1.05 million during 2001, down 2 percent from 2000 and 4 percent below 1999.
  • Beef cow operations in 2001 were down 2 percent from 2000 and 4 percent below 1999.