Beef Industry Statistics

Beef Industry Overview

  • Most unique and complex lifecycle of any food, includes variety of segments
  • Takes 2-3 years to bring beef from farm to fork
  • 2016 Forecasted Economic impact: $67.56 billion in farm cash receipts for cattle and calves1

Evolution of Beef Industry

  • The U.S. beef production system used to be inefficient- cattle were moved around based on the location of grass at any given time
  • The first widespread early cattle feedyards in the nation were built by cottonseed oil-mill operators in the 1850s to utilize mill by-products
  • Around 1914, due to a drop in number of cattle, we started feeding cattle at earlier age, which resulted in higher-quality meat

U.S. Beef Community

  • Average age of a principle beef cattle rancher is 58.32 
  • 913,246 total cattle & calf operations2. Of these:
    • 727,906 are beef farms and ranches. Of these:
      • 91% are family-owned or individually-operated
      • 11% are operated by women
    • 26,586 are engaged in cattle feedlot production. Of these:
      • 80% are family owned or individually operated
      • 5% are operated by women
    • 64,098 are milk cow operations
  • Cattle inventory: 93.5 million, up 1.8% from January 20163       
    • 31.2 million beef cows
      • 6.4 million beef replacement heifers in 2017, a 1.3% increase from 2016
    • 9.35 million milk cows
    • 35 million head calf crop (2016)
  • The average beef cow herd size is 40 head of cattle2
  • Of the 30,219 feedlots those with less than 1,000 head of capacity compose the vast majority of U.S. feedlots (93%)5
  • As of Jan. 1, 2016 of the 13.1 million head on feed, feedlots with greater than 1,000 head capacity account for 81% of all cattle on feed5
  • U.S. beef production in 2016 (commercial carcass weight) was 25.2 billion pounds4
  • U.S. commercial slaughter in 2016 was 30.5 million head3
  • The amount of beef consumed in the U.S. (i.e. purchased by consumers in foodservice and retail) in 2016 was 25.668 billion pounds1
  • The amount of beef consumed in the U.S. Per Capita 55.7 lbs
  • Average price of USDA Choice beef sold in retail in 2016 was $5.96/lb down from $6.29/lb in 20151
  • Value of U.S. beef exports (including variety meat) in 2016: $6.343 billion, up from $6.302 billion in 20156
  • Volume of beef export: 1,187,050 (metric tons) in 2016 up from 1,067,614 (metric tons) in 20156
  • Top U.S. beef exports markets (including variety meat) for 2016 (in order)3:  
  1. Japan: 258,653 metric tons; $1,510 million
  2. Mexico: 242,373 metric tons; $975 million
  3. South Korea: 179,280 metric tons; $1,059 million
  4. Canada: 116,266 metric tons; $758 million
  5. Hong Kong: 112,770 metric tons; $684 million
  6. Middle East: 104,488 metric tons; $216 million
  • Top 5 states that raise cattle and calves as of Jan. 1, 20173:
  1. Texas – 12.3 million
  2. Nebraska - 6.45 million
  3. Kansas – 6.4 million
  4. California - 5.15 million
  5. Oklahoma - 5 million
  • Top 5 states for cattle in feedlots with capacity more than 1,000 head as of Jan. 1, 20173:
  1. Texas - 2.42 million
  2. Nebraska - 2.37 million
  3. Kansas - 2.17 million
  4. Colorado - .900 million
  5. Iowa - .600 million

1U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, 2016
2U.S. Department of Agriculture, Census of Agriculture, 2012
3Livestock Marking Information Center, Jan. 1, 2016
4CattleFax Data 2016
5CME Group Daily Livestock Report 2016
6U.S. Meat Export Federation 2016

2016 National Cattlemen Directions Statistics


 

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California