As of July 1, all cattle and calves in the U.S. total 100 million head, down 1% from a year ago and towards the high end of estimates but still a very low number, indicating at least some continued herd contraction.
The annual calf crop also managed to avoid an historic low, coming out at 35.5 million head, down 1% on the year.
Calves born during the first half of 2011 were pegged at 25.8 million head, a little less than the first six months of 2010.
All cows and heifers that have calved came out at 40.6 million head, 1% below last year, with beef cows at 31.4 million head, also down 1%, while milk cows that have calved were up 1% at 9.2 million head.
Heifers weighing 500 pounds and up declined 1% to 16 million head, with beef replacements down 5% at 4.2 million, milk replacement heifers at 4.2 million head, up 4%, and other heifers down 2% to 7.6 million head.
Steers weighing 500 pounds and over were pegged at 14.2 million head, 1% less, bulls 500 pounds and up were 2 million head, 5% below a year ago, and calves under 500 pounds were down 1% at 27.2 million head.
All cattle and calves on feed for slaughter were reported at 12.2 million head, 3% more than this time last year.