In late January, USDA released their annual Cattle Inventory report, which estimated the size of the US cowherd. As expected, beef herd liquidation continued during 2010 despite the stronger fall markets. US beef cow numbers fell by 1.6 percent, which was largely consistent with pre-report estimates. The number of heifers held for beef replacements may have been the biggest surprise of the report, falling by about 5 percent. With fewer cows and less heifer development, the 2011 calf crop will clearly be smaller than 2010.
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