USDA to conduct nationwide cattle survey

This coming January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey more than 40,000 cattle operations nationwide to provide an up-to-date measure of U.S. cattle inventories. As cattle prices have rebounded and feed costs have declined, an updated look at cattle numbers across the nation will determine if producers have begun rebuilding their herds from last year’s level, which was the lowest in 60 years.
“In January 2014, Iowa’s cattle inventory of 3.7 million head ranked seventh in the U.S. Of the total cattle inventory, 1.23 million were cattle and calves on feed which ranked Iowa fourth in the nation,” said Greg Thessen, Director of the NASS Upper Midwest Regional Office. “Obtaining the current count of cattle will serve as a critical decision-making tool for producers and the entire agriculture industry.”
During the first two weeks of January, Iowa producers will have the opportunity to report their beef and dairy cattle inventories, calf crop, death loss and the number of cattle on feed.
“This information helps producers make timely, informed marketing decisions and plan for herd expansion or reduction,” Thessen explained. “Additionally, the information producers provide helps promote exports, inform the public about the industry, and determine expected future slaughter volume.”
As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state- and national-level data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified.
The January Cattle report will be released January 30, 2015. This and all NASS reports are available online at