As reported by the Texas Farm Bureau via Drovers Cattle Network, the January cattle inventory survey said that the U.S. herd has grown for the second consecutive year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the country started 2016 with 92 million cattle and calves, up 3.2% from a year earlier and the most cattle at the start of a year since 2011. The 3.2% increase is the biggest annual inventory increase since 1974. USDA lowered their estimate of the January 2015 cattle inventory by 657,000 head.
While the nationwide increase was a positive for the industry, ranchers and dairymen in eastern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle are still reeling from the early January winter storm Goliath that caused the deaths of tens of thousands of cattle. Dairy and beef cattle deaths totaled around 19,000 in Texas alone. The dairy and beef cattle industry continue to recover from the deadly winter storm, and industry experts are expected to know the nationwide impact from the losses in the coming days.