Wisconsin stands 9th among states for cattle numbers
Stark differences in geographical locations stood out in the cattle and calf inventory taken in the United States for Jan. 1, 2013.
Most states in the northern tier and in some Appalachian states enjoyed significant gains compared to a year earlier while those in the most drought-affected region posted huge losses.
With an increase of 50,000 head in its dairy and beef cattle herd, Wisconsin began the year holding onto 9th place among the states with 3.45 million head. During 2012, the national total fell by nearly 1.469 million head to 89.3 million on Jan. 1.
As of Jan. 1, Wisconsin had 260,000 beef cows which had calved - down by 5,000 from the start of the previous two years.
However, its herd of beef replacement heifers weighing over 500 pounds had increased to 75,000 - up by 10,000 over the past two years. The number of cattle on feed in the state stood at 240,000 at the start of the past two years.
In the "Dairy State," it is not surprising that dairy animals account for the great bulk of the cattle herd.
Wisconsin's total as of Jan. 1 included 1.27 million milk cows, 700,000 replacement heifers weighing 500 or more pounds, and a great portion of the 1.37 million calves born in 2012.
The report by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service listed these percentages for cattle in the state on Jan. 1 - milk cows (37), dairy calves (20), dairy heifers (20), steers and other heifers (12), beef cows (8), beef heifers (2), and bulls (1).
For the United States, however, beef cows accounted for 33 percent of the cattle with steers and other heifers following at 28 percent, calves at 16 percent, and milk cows at 10 percent.
The beef cow inventory was down by three percent or 863,000 head during 2012 for a total of 29.295 million head at the start of this year.
Across the country, cattle and calf numbers changed greatly during 2012. South Dakota added 200,000 head, Idaho 150,000, Virginia 120,000, North Dakota and Montana 100,000 each, Kentucky 90,000, Illinois 50,000, and Minnesota 30,000.
Meanwhile, Texas shed 600,000 head or five percent of its herd but still had the top total among the states with 11.3 million head.
Nebraska remained in second place among the states with 6.3 million despite losing 150,000 head during 2012 while the Kansas herd was cut by 250,000 head for its third place total of 5.85 million to start the year.
Cattle losses during 2012 in other states included 300,000 head in Oklahoma, 250,000 in Missouri, 150,000 in Colorado, 140,000 in Tennessee, 70,000 in both Arkansas and Wyoming, and 50,000 each in California, New Mexico, Iowa, Ohio, and Florida.