Iowa Cattle Industry Facts

Total Cattle Inventory in Iowa (as of January 1, 2018; +2.6%)             4,000,000

State Rank All Cattle and Calves (January 1, 2018)                     Seventh, tied

USDA Cattle on Feed in Iowa (January 1, 2018; +8.6%)                     1,260,000

State Rank Cattle and Calves on Feed (January 1, 2018)                     Fourth

Yearly Fed Cattle Marketings (2017; +5.7%)                                       1,844,000

Number of Feedlots (2012 Census)                                                       6,036

Number of Cattle Operations (2012 Census)                                        26,827

Number of Farms with Beef Cows (2012 Census)                                19,677

Number of Beef Cows (January 1, 2018; +0.5%)                                   970,000

State Rank Number of Beef Cows (January 1, 2018)                              Tenth

Number of Farms with Dairy Cows (2012 Census)                                1,810

Number of Dairy Cows (January 1, 2018; +2.3%)                                 220,000

State Rank Number of Dairy Cows (January 1, 2018)                         Twelfth

Cash Receipts from Cattle and Calves (2016)                           $3.859 Billion

Iowa Jobs Directly Related to the Cattle Industry (2016)                     19,528

Iowa Jobs Indirectly Related to the Cattle Industry (2016)                    6,519

Iowa Jobs Induced by the Cattle Industry (2016)                                  6.270

 

In 2016, Iowa’s cattle industry contributed in excess of
$6.3 billion in business activity to Iowa’s economy

 

 Sources:  Department of Economics, Iowa State University; Iowa Agricultural Statistics, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 2018 Cattle Inventory Report National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); and Economic Importance of Iowa's Beef Industry IBC0127, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach - Iowa Beef Center, December 2017.

U.S. Cattle Industry Facts

  • January 1, 2018 Cattle inventory: 94,339,0000 +0.7% (USDA NASS) 
  • 2017 estimated economic impact: $66.540 billion in farm gate cash receipts (USDA NASS) 
  • 2012 Number of cow herds: 777,943 (2012 Census)
    • 31.7 million beef cows (January 1, 2018 +1.6%) (USDA NASS)
    • 9.4 million dairy cows (January 1, 2018 +0.6%) (USDA NASS)
    • 35.8 million head calf crop (2017 +2.0%) (USDA NASS)
    • 90 percent of cow herds have less than 100 cows (2012 Census)
  • 2017 beef and beef variety exports: 1.263 million metric tons (2.785 billion pounds); $7.269 billion (USMEF)
    • Top export markets: Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan 
  • Top 5 states for Cattle on Feed (January 1, 2018) (USDA NASS)
    • Nebraska – 2,770,000 hd; +12.1%
    • Texas – 2,6500,000 hd; +9.1%
    • Kansas – 2,450,000 hd; +6.5%
    • Iowa – 1,260,000 hd; +8.6%
    • Colorado – 1,000,000 hd; +6.4%
  • 54 percent of the total value of U.S. sales of cattle and calves comes from the top 5 states with inventory (2016) (USDA NASS)
    • Nebraska
    • Texas
    • Kansas
    • Iowa
    • Colorado
  • Feedyard cost of gain: $10.97/lb. from 2011-2015; $0.74/lb. in 2016, $0.70/lb in 2017 
  • Average producer age: 58.6 beef cattle ranching and farming; 55.9 cattle feedlots (2012 Census)
  • 2017: 31.70 million head of cattle harvested under USDA inspection; 25.86 billion pounds of commercial beef production. Average dressed weight 816 pounds. (USDA NASS) 

USDA NASS - National Agricultural Statistics Service

USMEF – U.S. Meat Export Federation