Iowa Cattle Industry Facts

Total Cattle Inventory in Iowa (as of January 1, 2019; -1.3%)             3,950,000

State Rank All Cattle and Calves (January 1, 2019)                                  Eighth

Cattle on Feed in Iowa (January 1, 2019; +1.5%)                                1,320,000

State Rank Cattle and Calves on Feed (January 1, 2019)                       Fourth

Yearly Fed Cattle Marketings (2018; -1.4%)                                         1,813,000

Number of Feedlots (2017 Census)                                                          5,485

Number of Cattle Operations (2017 Census)                                         25,367

Number of Farms with Beef Cows (2017 Census)                                    19,171

Number of Beef Cows (January 1, 2019; unchanged)                         950,000

State Rank Number of Beef Cows (January 1, 2019)                                Tenth

Number of Farms with Dairy Cows (2017 Census)                                   1,592

Number of Dairy Cows (January 1, 2019; unchanged)                        220,000

State Rank Number of Dairy Cows (January 1, 2019)                             Twelfth

Cash Receipts from Cattle and Calves (2017)                              $4.059 Billion

Iowa Jobs Directly Related to the Cattle Industry (2017)                         19,016

Iowa Jobs Indirectly Related to the Cattle Industry (2017)                       9,570

Iowa Jobs Induced by the Cattle Industry (2017)                                      4,561

 

In 2017, Iowa’s cattle industry contributed in excess of
$6.8 billion in business activity to Iowa’s economy

 

 Sources:  Department of Economics, Iowa State University; Iowa Agricultural Statistics, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 2019 Cattle Inventory Report and 2017 Census of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

U.S. Cattle Industry Facts

  • January 1, 2019 Cattle inventory: 94,760,000 +0.5% (USDA NASS)  
  • 2018 estimated economic impact: $66.510 billion in farm gate cash receipts (USDA ERS) 
  • 2017 Number of cow herds: 768,542 (2017 Census) 
    • 31.8 million beef cows (January 1, 2019 +1.0%) (USDA NASS) 
    • 9.4 million dairy cows (January 1, 2019 -0.8%) (USDA NASS) 
    • 36.4 million head calf crop (2018 +1.8%) (USDA NASS) 
    • 89 percent of cow herds have less than 100 cows (2017 Census) 
  • 2018 beef and beef variety exports: 1.353 million metric tons (2.983 billion pounds); $8.332 billion (USMEF)  
    • Top export markets: Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Hong Kong, Canada, Taiwan
  • Top 5 states for Cattle on Feed (January 1, 2019) (USDA NASS)
    • Nebraska – 2,750,000 hd; -1.8%
    • Texas – 2,750,000 hd; +3.8% 
    • Kansas – 2,430,000; hd -0.8%
    • Iowa – 1,320,000 hd; +1.5% 
    • Colorado – 1,050,000 hd; +5.0% 
  • 53 percent of the total value of U.S. sales of cattle and calves comes from the top 5 states with cattle on feed inventory (2017) (USDA NASS) 
    • Nebraska
    • Texas
    • Kansas
    • Iowa
    • Colorado
  • Feedyard cost of gain: $0.92/lb from 2012-2016; $0.70/lb in 2017, $0.74/lb in 2018 (ISU Estimated Livestock Returns-Finishing Yearling Steers)
  • Average producer age: 57.4 beef cattle ranching and farming; 54.5 cattle feedlots (2017 Census) 
  • 2018: 32.52 million head of cattle harvested under USDA inspection; 26.54 billion pounds of commercial, federally inspected beef production. Average dressed weight 816 pounds. (USDA NASS)  

USDA NASS - National Agricultural Statistics Service
USMEF – U.S. Meat Export Federation