Audio: U.S. cattle inventory hits lowest level since 1951

Cattle in a field
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(Brownfield Network –Mark Dorenkamp) – Historically low cattle inventories will be a major storyline for agriculture throughout 2024.

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

“An interesting thing about that is 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 this presents a pretty significant situation for producers and consumers. “I expect beef prices at the retail level to remain extremely high. The question is whether the consumer will be willing to pay those prices and what that looks like from a demand structure going forward.”

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


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