Cattle inventory lowest since 1951

Historically low cattle inventories will be a major storyline for agriculture throughout 2024.

Zach Brummer with Iowa Farm Bureau says the herd size in the U.S. is the lowest it’s been since 1951.

“Interesting thing about that, the U.S. population in 1951 (was) roughly 155 million. The U.S. population in 2024, 340 million (give or take). So more than double the population, but the same amount of beef.”

He tells Brownfield that presents a pretty significant situation for producers and consumer.

“I expect beef prices at the retail level to remain extremely high. The question is (whether) the consumer going to be willing to pay those prices and what does that look like from a demand structure going forward.”

The USDA says there were more than 87 million cattle in the U.S. as of January 1st, which was two percent lower than the year before.

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