USDA’s annual Cattle Inventory Report confirmed expansion continues throughout cow country. The total herd inventory increased 1.8% to 93.6 million head on Jan. 1, 2017. Total beef cow numbers increased 3.4% to 31.2 million head, 2.1 million larger than the 2014 lows, yet 1.5 million shy of the previous high in 2006.
Eight states counted more than one million cows on Jan. 1, with Texas leading the way at 4.46 million head. The Lone Star state saw an increase of 170,000 beef cows. With 2.095 million cows, Oklahoma ranks second in total numbers, but the state’s increase of 172,000 head was the most of any state.
Rounding out the top eight: Missouri, 2.052 million cows, up 150,000; Nebraska, 1.920 million cows, up 68,000; South Dakota, 1.664 million cows, down 6,000; Montana, 1.486 million cows, unchanged; Kansas, 1.570 million cows, up 82,000; Kentucky, 1.023 million cows, unchanged.
The maps below provide a regional glimpse into where beef cow numbers increased or decreased.