Total cow inventory expected to push forward

Author: Kristy

By Laura Mushrush, Assistant Editor, Drovers CattleNetwork 

USDA’s Long-term Projections for agriculture have been released with estimations reaching 2014. Chicken leads the pack in total meat consumption, beef and pork tag behind. Total cow inventory expected to make significant increases.

Meat consumption

The next three years are projected to bring a slow but steady decrease in per capita beef consumption. From 2013 to 2014, beef consumption dropped 56.3 retail pounds to 54.6 retail pounds. In 2015 beef consumption is expected to carry down to 52.2 retail pounds, reaching 48.5 retail pounds by 2017. By 2018 things should be looking up, hitting a steady 52.4 retail pounds per capita by 2024. However, total meat per capita consumption is projected to be on the rise, with total poultry consumption carrying the weight. From 2015 to 2014, total poultry consumption is expected to rise from 102.5 retail pounds to a hefty 111.9 retail pounds. Pork is also on the rise, with a more gradual increase, jumping from 46.6 retail pounds in 2015 to 49.5 retail pounds in 2024.

Cattle prices

The market for 5-area steers is projected to be volatile. Significant increases are expected to be started in 2015 with cattle bringing $159.50 per hundredweight in 2015, continuing to jump up to $165.03 per hundredweight by 2017. The 5-area steer market is then projected to steadily drop to $152.48 per hundredweight by 2022, and begin increasing, hitting $158.11 per hundredweight by 2014.

Feeder steers, Oklahoma City, are expected to peak in 2015 at $226.75 per hundredweight. It’s then estimated to be downhill from there, significantly dropping to $203.70 per hundredweight by 2017 and a low of $181.85 per hundredweight in 2022.


The national beef cow herd is projected to steadily climb from around 29.6 million in 2014 to 33.7 million in 2024, pushing along the cattle inventory from around 87.7 million in 2014 to 94 million in 2014.


Total acres of corn planted is expected to slightly decline in the coming new year, with the lowest in the spread to 2024 being 88 million acres in 2015. Acreage is projected to pick up to 90 million acres 2016-2018 and then settle around 89 million until 2024. Of that, 2016-2018 are expected to be the heaviest harvest years with around 82.4 million acres. Bushels per acre are expected to max out in 2014, with an average of 185.3 bushels per acre. Things are expected to be weak in 2016, with 167.2 bushels per acre.

For the full report, click here.

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