The USDA on Jan. 28 estimated the total number of cattle and calves in the United States as of Jan. 1, 2011, at 92.6 million head, 1 percent below 93.9 million on Jan. 1, 2010. That was the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 91.2 million on hand in 1958.

 In the same report, the number of all cows and heifers that have calved, was pegged at 40.0 million, down 1 percent from the 40.5 million on Jan. 1, 2010. Beef cows were tabbed at 30.9 million, down 2 percent from a year earlier. Milk cows were reported at 9.1 million head, up 1 percent from Jan. 1, 2010.

In addition, all heifers 500 pounds and over, were estimated at 19.5 million, down 1 percent and beef replacement heifers were reported at 5.2 million head, down 5 percent from a year earlier.

The number of steers weighing 500 pounds and over as of Jan. 1, 2011 were down 1 percent at 16.4 million head and calves under 500 pounds were down 3 percent at 14.5 million.

The USDA report estimated the 2010 calf crop at 35.7 million head, down 1 percent from 2009 and the smallest calf crop since the 34.9 million born during 1950. Calves born during the first half of 2010 were estimated at 25.9 million, down 1 percent from 2009.