Red Angus Active Cow Inventory Increases Despite Drought

Posted June 7, 2023

by Tom Brink, RAAA CEO

Low precipitation levels and high feed costs have been a huge challenge for seedstock and commercial producers alike during the past few years. Herd liquidation has taken place in many parts of the country. As of Jan. 1, 2023, the total U.S. beef cow inventory declined more than 1.0 million head compared to a year earlier (down 4%) and more than 2.6 million head since 2019.

Despite pressure on the national herd, Red Angus cow numbers remained on a modest uptrend: as seen in the chart above. The RAAA’s current fiscal year will end on June 30, 2023, with a total cow inventory just over 104,000 head. For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, RAAA is projecting additional modest growth to approximately 106,000 active females, which would be another record. The fact that Red Angus cow inventories have increased when the national cowherd was shrinking makes a strong statement about the general health of the breed.

Range and pasture conditions improved in many areas during recent months and the outlook for more favorable long-term weather patterns appears better, according to most weather forecasters. Significant improvements in the cattle market are also supportive to the economics of cattle production. These improvements should help the breed continue to grow, potentially at a faster pace, through the middle of the current decade.