According to the USDA’s mid-year cattle report, there has been a 2% decrease in overall cattle inventory. This includes a 2% decrease in beef cattle at 30.4 million and a 1% decrease in milk cows at 9.45 million.
In addition, the number of cows and heifers that have calved has fallen from 40.6 million in 2021 to 39.8 million in 2022.
There has also been a 9.36% increase in cattle deaths from 2019 to 2022.
The change in the cattle population could be a sign that beef prices have risen to a point where it is no longer profitable for farmers to raise cattle to produce more beef. As a result, they are slaughtering their cattle at higher rates in order to keep up with inflation. This suggests that the price of beef may continue to rise in the future.
One report predicts that beef prices will increase by 15% in 2023. However, based on the current trend of decreasing cattle numbers, it is possible that inflation could be even higher if both prices and demand are rising while the cow population is declining. This could have significant implications for the food industry and consumers.
In addition, the U.S. population growth was 0.4% in 2022. So, the U.S. population increased while the cattle population decreased. This means there may be a shortage of beef and other animal-based products, leading to even higher prices and possibly less access to these sources of protein for some consumers. This could lead to a shift towards alternative protein sources, such as plant-based options or imported products, which may have their own set of environmental and economic implications. Additionally, the decline in the cattle population could also impact the farming industry and rural communities that rely on it as a major source of income.