July 1st cattle inventory slightly above year ago

The USDA says the domestic cattle inventory on July 1st was up slightly on the year. The calf crop for the first half of the year does indicate herd contraction is starting for some producers, down 1% from last year at 26.1 million head, with the USDA also anticipating a modestly lower than a year ago birth rate during the second half of 2020 at 9.7 million head. A year ago, the January to June calf crop was 26.35 million head, while the July through December crop was 9.710 million head.

The total herd of 103 million head included 41.4 million cows and heifers that have calved, slightly below a year ago, with a 1% decline in beef cows to 32.05 million cancelling out a 1% rise in milk cows at 9.35 million head. All heifers weighing more than 500 pounds were 1% above last year at 16.5 million head, with beef replacement and milk replacement heifers unchanged at 4.4 million and 4.1 million head, respectively, and other heifers 1% higher at 8 million head. Steers weighing 500 pounds and heavier were up 2% at 15 million head and bulls weighing more than 500 pounds were unchanged at 2.1 million, while calves weighing less than 500 pounds were slightly lower at 28 million head.

The numbers look mostly neutral, with the potential for some light long term bullishness, depending on calving numbers.

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