Cattle weights have been rising since 2011. The average weight for live cattle in 2011 was 1,278 pounds. In 2012, the annual average weight for cattle was 1,302 pounds. This was the first time the annual average was over 1,300 pounds and the highest on record.

Year

Average

2015

1,354

2014

1,331

2013

1,314

2012

1,302

2011

1,278

 

Cattle weights set all new records in 2013

All records for live cattle weights were broken in 2013.  Every month in 2013 was the heaviest in history for that month.  The annual average in 2013 was the heaviest in history. The average for live cattle weights in 2013 was at 1,314 pounds, up 12 pounds from the year before.  In 2013, every month averaged over 1,300 pounds except for April and May. The heaviest average for a month was set in November at 1,339 pounds.

Cattle weights set all new records in 2014

All records for cattle weights set in 2013 were broken in 2014.  Every month in 2014 was higher than that same month in 2013. The annual average in 2014 was 1,331 pounds, up 17 pounds from the record average in 2013.  Every month in 2014 was over 1,300 pounds except for May.  The average in May 2014 was 1,299 pounds. This was the heaviest May for live cattle weights in history.

Cattle weights poised to break all new records in 2015

The USDA has updated final monthly data for cattle weights in 2015 for January through March. The average weight for live cattle so far in 2015 (January – March) is 1,354 pounds. All months in 2015 have been heavier than in 2014.  Cattle weights in 2015 have been 27 pounds, on average, higher than 2014. The most current weekly USDA data shows cattle weights at 1,339 pounds, up a whopping 40 pounds from the year prior.

Average

1,278

1,302

1,314

1,331

1,354

Year

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

January

1,301

1,300

1,328

1,334

1,359

February

1,286

1,307

1,320

1,330

1,355

March

1,276

1,299

1,313

1,318

1,348

April

1,257

1,281

1,296

1,306

 

May

1,253

1,280

1,289

1,299

 

June

1,262

1,290

1,300

1,307

 

July

1,272

1,295

1,302

1,320

 

August

1,270

1,300

1,310

1,329

 

September

1,278

1,311

1,313

1,344

 

October

1,289

1,318

1,327

1,355

 

November

1,293

1,321

1,339

1,363

 

December

1,297

1,324

1,334

1,363

 

Source:  ERS/USDA (live cattle weight, commercial avg., pounds)

Cattle weights typically lowest in May

From 2005 through 2014, May was the lowest month for cattle weights eight out of 10 years.  April was the lowest month of the year in 2005 and 2006. Cattle weights typically peak in November through January. From 2005 through 2014, the average decline from December to May has been 52 pounds.