NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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February 27, 2012 Agriculture Column


Calving season has started for some while others are fasting approaching and others are still a couple months away but the total U.S. cattle herd is approaching numbers that were seen in the 1950”s.  As you read the article below you will see cow herd numbers have been dwindling and for different reasons.  Some might say the baby boom retirement has created some shortages and I can not argue against that as some of that generation will likely quit cattle however I would argue that many producers have either rented or bought those pastures acreages and have left cattle numbers fairly constant.  Probably the largest factor creating the lower cow numbers has been the severe drought in the southern states causing producers to liquidate to lower numbers due to poor or no grass for grazing.  Another factor in the reduced cattle herd numbers has been the lower cattle prices not so long ago.  With the grain commodities gaining momentum created a need for some producers to take their land out of grass production and place that usually less par land into the production agriculture.  No matter the case the cattle numbers are and should remain low for a few more years which paints a brighter picture for the cattle industry.

US Beef Herd Inventory:

All cattle and calves in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2012, totaled 90.8 million head, 2 percent below the 92.7 million on Jan. 1, 2011. This is the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 88.1 million on hand in 1952.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.1 million, were down 2 percent from the 40 million on Jan. 1, 2011.

n Beef cows, at 29.9 million, were down 3 percent from Jan. 1, 2011.

n Milk cows, at 9.2 million, were up 1 percent from Jan. 1, 2011.

Other class estimates on Jan. 1, 2012, and the change from Jan. 1, 2011, are as follows:

n Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots, 14.1 million, up 1 percent

n The combined total of calves under 500 pounds, and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds outside of feedlots, was 25.7 million, down 4 percent

The 2011 calf crop was estimated at 35.3 million head, down 1 percent from 2010. This is the smallest calf crop since the 34.9 million born during 1950. Calves born during the first half of 2011 are estimated at 25.7 million, down 1 percent from 2010.



            March 1                       Commercial ag pest, right of way, seed treatment

            March 13                     Private Pesticide training           Hampden

            March 27                     Private Pesticide training           Devils Lake

            April 10                        Private Pesticide training           Devils Lake


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