Farm Talk

Livestock

February 18, 2014

Ark. cattle numbers up despite trend

Parsons, Kansas — Arkansas cattle numbers are recovering nearly two years after the start of a drought that caused $128 million damage to the state’s beef industry, while national numbers plummet to their lowest levels in more than 60 years.

The number of cattle nationwide declined to 87.7 million head in January, the smallest since 1951, but Arkansas is continuing to buck the trend, with the January count up four percent from the year-earlier count to 1.66 million head, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“Due to the 2012 drought the 2013 Arkansas cattle inventory declined four percent and the national cattle inventory declined two percent,” said Tom Troxel, associate head-Animal Science for the University of Ark-ansas. “However, with rains returning in 2013, the Arkansas cattle inventory recovered to about the cattle inventory level of Jan. 1, 2012.”  

As of Feb. 11, Arkansas was 99.66 percent drought-free. A year ago, nearly half the state suffered from drought. In 2012, the state was drought-free according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report issued April 24. By May 29, all of the state had some drought classification.

Arkansas beef cow numbers increased from 851,000 head in 2013 to 882,000 in 2014. Other states with a four percent or greater increase in beef cows included Kansas, Mississippi, New York and Pennsylvania.  

With drought deepening in California and still affecting other western states, “the U.S. cattle inventory will continue to face difficulty recovering,” he said.

Beef expanding?

Troxel said that nationwide, beef producers are starting to show some signs of expansion. The number of beef replacement heifers was up 2 percent or 5.5 million head.

“Arkansas beef cattle producers are also optimistic about the future — they increased the number of replacement beef heifers by 6.2 percent,” Troxel said.

It takes time to rebuild the cow numbers “but it starts with retaining heifers and it appears the cattle producers are beginning the process with the 2013 heifer crop,” he said. “Beef cow replacements numbers have declined for many years. With an increase in beef replacement in 2013, there is an outside chance we could see an increase in beef cow numbers in 2015 or 2016, but much will depend on what happens with corn and feed prices.”

Arkansas beef cattle producers may be a step ahead of the nation.

“With the smaller national herd, decrease in supply with an increase in demand for beef both domestically and foreign, beef prices are expected to be higher in 2014 than in 2013,” Troxel said. “Cost of feed is expected to be lower than in recent years. If Arkansas cattle producers can manage their cost, profits can potentially be higher.”

Calf numbers

In Arkansas, the calf crop for the full year of 2013 was 760,000, unchanged from 2012. The 2013 calf crop for the U.S. was 33.9 million head — the smallest since 1949. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 890,000 head, were up 3 percent January 2014 and beef cows were at 882,000 head, up four percent. All heifers weighing 500-pounds and more, were up 6.2 percent to 137,000 head. Steers were up four percent at 135,000 head and calves weighing less than 500 pounds were down 2.7 percent to 360,000 head.

Rain returns

During 2013, Arkansas experienced normal rainfall, producing adequate forage. This, along with strong selling prices in 2013, may have caused Arkansas beef producers to sell lightweight calves .

The 2014 cattle and calf inventory is nowhere near the record numbers set in 1975. In 1975 there were 2.68 million all cattle and calves, 1.35 million cows and heifers that calve and 1.26 million beef cows.

1
Text Only
Livestock
  • As heat, humidity set in, consider livestock heat stress as danger

    The heat and humidity of summer are arriving in many parts of Nebraska this week, and a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator is offering tips on how to handle livestock in these potentially dangerous conditions.

    July 29, 2014

  • Cattle markets likely topped for now

    Most of Oklahoma received rain in the past week with roughly half the state receiving one to over three inches and a few areas receiving even heavier rains that filled ponds which have been low or dry for many months.
    Forage growth, which had just begun to stall under summer heat, has picked back up.  Summer heat is forecast to return this week and, along with high humidity from recent rain, will lead to sweltering heat indices that will impact both cattle and the producers who care for them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Follow BQA guidelines when treating and selling cows

    Summer time often brings a few infectious ailments to beef cows.  Common problems include eye infections and foot rot.

    July 15, 2014

  • Mixed emotions in the beef industry

    The beef industry is experiencing a wide range of emotions at the current time.  The level of excitement is obvious as cattle and beef prices have pushed even beyond record levels of earlier this year.

    July 8, 2014

  • Heat impacts bull fertility

    Recently a producer asked about the impact that the heat of the summer of 2012 may have had on the reduced calf crop that was discovered the following spring.

    July 1, 2014

  • charolaisXheifer.jpg Summer cattle market conditions

    Summer officially started this past weekend and cattle markets so far have shown little of the seasonal pressure that has been expected.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Monitor medicated mineral intake

    Medicated minerals are available and frequently used to help prevent the blood-born disease, anaplasmosis. A consistent and appropriate intake of the mineral is critical to a successful anaplasmosis prevention program.

    June 17, 2014

  • Should cow/calf producers lock in fall calf prices?

     In recent article, I discussed record high feeder cattle prices as well as the lack of profits for current feedlot placements. While current price levels offer little or no profit opportunity for buyers of feeder cattle, those same prices could result in record or near record profits for cow-calf producers this year.

    June 10, 2014

  • Feeder cattle markets red hot

    Widespread rains over the Memorial weekend may have curtailed holiday activities but were enthusiastically welcomed by cattle producers in the Southern Plains.

    June 3, 2014

  • Is beef herd expansion underway?

    The effects of many years of cattle herd liquidation and the inevitable decreases in beef production have become glaringly obvious in 2014. Cattle slaughter is down 6.3 percent leading to a 5.7 percent decrease in beef production so far this year.

    May 28, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content