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NASS releases state and national livestock inventory reports

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released their reports which state national livestock numbers, including cattle, sheep and goats. 

Beef inventory

                  Across the U.S., cattle numbers totaled 93.6 million head as of Jan. 1, according to NASS. This number is down slightly from 93.8 million head as of Jan. 1, 2020. 

                  “In the current cattle cycle, the all-cattle inventory increased from a low of 88.2 million head in 2014 to a peak of 94.8 million head in 2019 and has declined a total of 1.3 percent in the last two years,” notes Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel in an Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service newsletter. 

                  The total number of all cows and heifers producing calves as of Jan. 1 was 40.6 million head. Beef cows were down one percent from year-ago levels at 31.2 million head, while milk cows were up one percent from year-ago levels at 9.44 million head. 

                  Cattle and calves on track for slaughter for all feedlots added up to 14.71 million head, up 0.3 percent higher year-over-year. 

                  NASS estimates the 2020 calf crop in the U.S. at 35.1 million head, down one percent from the 2019 calf crop. 

                  The Mountain Regional Field Office of NASS estimated the all-cattle inventory in Wyoming at 1.3 million head, down two percent from the Jan. 1, 2020 inventory. The agency reported 702,000 beef cows, down 22,000 head from the previous year and 8,000 milk cows, up 2,000 head from last year. 

                  Wyoming’s calf crop is down one percent from the 2019 inventory to 660,000 head. 

                  Beef replacement heifers greater than 500 pounds were down three percent to 155,000 head. Milk replacement heifers and other heifers over 500 pounds remain unchanged at 4,000 head and 126,000 head, respectively. 

                  Steers weighing more than 500 pounds were up 10 percent to 170,000 head, and bulls were down 11 percent to 40,000 head. The total inventory of cattle and calves on feed in Wyoming is up six percent from year-ago levels to 74,000 head. 

                  “In general, U.S. cattle inventories show little direction and are more stable than anything,” says Peel. “Market conditions, and perhaps drought in coming months, will determine the direction of cattle numbers in 2021 and beyond.”

Sheep inventory

                  As of Jan. 1, all sheep and lambs in the U.S. totaled 5.17 million head, a one percent decrease from the previous year. The 2020 lamb crop was down one percent from 2019 to 3.21 million head, and the lambing rate of 108 lambs per 100 ewes remained unchanged. 

                  Down one percent from last year, ewes greater than one year of age and older totaled 2.96 million, similar to the one percent decrease in breeding sheep, totaling 3.79 million head. 

                  According to NASS, the market sheep and lamb inventory totaled 1.39 million head, unchanged from 2020 figures. Market lambs made up 94 percent of the total market industry, with the remaining six percent comprised by market sheep. 

                  U.S. shorn wool production in 2020 amounted to 23.1 million pounds, down four percent from 2019. Additionally, the average price of wool in 2020 was $1.66 per pound, adding up to $38.4 million in wool sales, down 15 percent from $45.4 million in 2019. 

                  The Wyoming inventory of sheep and lambs remained unchanged from 2020, totaling 340,000 head. Breeding sheep numbers increased two percent over last year to 270,000 head, however market sheep and lambs decreased by seven percent to 70,000. 

                  At 230,000 head as of Jan. 1, the 2020 lamb crop increased two percent over the 2019 lamb crop. 

                  Wyoming wool production increased three percent from 2.27 million pounds from the previous year, while the number of sheep and lambs shorn remained unchanged from year-ago levels at 250,000 head. 

The value of wool production in 2020 totaled $5.34 million, down 10 percent from the previous year as the average price of wool decreased from $2.70 per pound to $2.35 per pound. 

Goat inventory

                  The U.S. goat inventory counted 2.58 million head on Jan. 1, a three percent decrease from 2020 numbers. 

                  Breeding goats nationwide totaled 2.12 million, and does one year of age and older totaled 1.57 million head, both down three percent from the previous year. The 2020 kid crop totaled 1.66 million, a one percent increase from 2019. 

                  Market goats and kids totaled 465,000 head, down three percent year-over-year. Meat goats totaled 2.05 million head, down two percent from 2020. 

                  Milk goats decreased three percent to 420,000 head, and Angora goats decreased 10 percent to 117,000 head.

                  U.S. mohair production totaled 589,000 pounds at $5.07 per pound for a total value of $2.99 million.  

                  Information for this article was obtained from the USDA NASS inventory reports. Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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