WASHINGTON — All cattle and calves numbers reported a 3% decline from the same time in 2022, the fewest beef cows since at least 1971, according to the July 1, 2023 inventory of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

The agency said 95.9 million head were on US farms, down from 98.6 million head on July 1, 2022.

Beef cows stood at 29.4 million, down 3% from the same time last year. All cows and heifers numbers totaled 38.8 million head, 2% below the 39.6 million head in 2022.

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 13.1 million head, down 2% from the previous year. USDA also pointed out that 13.9 million steers were 500 lbs or over, down 3% from a year ago.

Bulls at 500 lbs or over were down 5% from the previous year, with a total of 1.90 million head reported.

NASS explained that the data was based on surveys of 15,000 operators in the United States to compile cattle numbers during the first half of July.