Overview of Missouri Beef Industry

The beef industry categorizes commercial beef cattle operations into three basic groups:

  • Cow-calf
  • Stocker
  • Fed-cattle

On Jan. 1, 2015, cow-calf operations maintained 80.5 percent of Missouri’s total cattle inventory. Stockers held an estimated 14 percent of the inventory. Less than 2 percent of the inventory was cattle on feed. Dairy cattle - both cows and replacements - made up the remainder of cattle reported, which was an estimated 3.7 percent on Jan. 1, 2015.

Cow-calf operations typically maintain beef cows, calves weighing less than 500 pounds, beef cow replacements and bulls weighing at least 500 pounds. Inventory maintained by stockers includes other heifers - the non-replacement heifers - and steers weighing at least 500 pounds. From this subtotal, cattle on feed are subtracted.

Missouri Cattle and Calves, Jan. 1 Inventory, 2011 to 2015
 (Thousand Head)
All cattle and calves3,9503,9503,7003,8504,000
All cows that have calved1,9601,9201,8101,9101,970
     Beef cows1,8651,8271,7171,8201,881
     Dairy cows95 93 93 90 89
Heifers, at least 500 pounds570590560570600
     Beef cow replacements300280290305310
     Milk cow replacements50 45 50 50 60
     Other heifers220265220215230
Steers, at least 500 pounds390410380380400
Bulls, at least 500 pounds100100100100110
Calves, less than 500 pounds930930850890920
Cattle on feed*65 80 80 75 70
*Also included in the classes above     
Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service

Between 2011 and 2015, total cattle and calves inventory increased by 1.3 percent. For most categories, inventory levels were lowest on Jan. 1, 2013. After experiencing significant drought conditions during 2012, Missouri cattle producers had limited feed and water resources. Because of constrained resources, producers may have liquidated all or part of their herds.

Missouri Cattle Flowchart

The Missouri beef industry’s value chain has various sectors that contribute to raising beef animals. Below is the Missouri cattle flowchart for 2014. The flowchart depicts the flow of cattle and calves from Missouri farms into growing, finishing and marketing channels by sharing beef animal inventory or production data at each sector, linking various industry sectors and tracing the industry’s output in the given year.

Missouri Cattle Flowchart, 2014

Note that 2014 data reported by USDA shaped the flowchart. However, some estimates were necessary. Using various estimation dates and derivation techniques may cause these estimates to differ from official estimates.