The USDA Cattle Inventory report was released today. Total cattle inventory is up slightly, but the calf crop is down. As of July 1, total cattle and calves in the U.S. totaled 103 million head, up slightly from last year.
Beef cows and heifers that have calved totaled 32.1 million head, down one percent from last year. Replacement heifers remained unchanged at 4.4 million head. Steers 500 lbs. and over totaled 15 million head, up 2 percent.
Bulls 500 lbs. and over remained unchanged at 2.1 million head, and calves under 500 lbs. totaled 28 million head, down slightly.
Cattle and calves on feed totaled 13.6 million head, unchanged from last year.
The 2020 calf crop is expected to be 35.8 million head, down 1 percent was last year. Spring calves are estimated at 26.1 million head, down 1 percent from the first half of 2019. A total of 9.7 million fall calves are expected to be born in the second half of the year.
Futures have remained steady. Live cattle contracts were up slightly, with the August contract gaining 47 cents to $101.32, October gaining 50 cents to $105.10 and the December contract gaining 30 cents to $109.31.
Feeder cattle contracts were mixed. The August contract was up 2 cents at $142.05, the September contract down 42 cents to $142.75 and the October contract down 62 cents to $142.80. The latest known CME Feeder Cattle Index was $137.96.
Negotiated cash trade was inactive on very light demand in Nebraska and the western Corn Belt, and at a standstill in the Southern Plains and Colorado. There were not enough purchases for a market trend in any feeding region.
Boxed beef prices have remained stable, with a load of 117 showing the Choice cutout losing 49 cents to $201.77 and the Select cutout losing 16 cents to $190.63.
Today’s slaughter is estimated at 113,000 head, down several thousand head from last week as well as last year. Saturday’s slaughter is predicted at 61,000 head, below last week’s number but above last year. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor