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Little change in county cattle count

Changes due to price variations, land availability

While numbers have significantly dropped and raised within the last five years, the current standing of cattle and calves in Idaho County, as of Jan. 1, 2017, is less than 2 percent down from head totals for this same time in 2013.

According to a recent report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), total cattle and calves in Idaho County at the start of this year was 32,000 head. During the five-year period, head totaled 32,500 in 2013 and dropped 6.2 percent (2,000) the following year. However, that decrease was regained in the following two years to report 32,500 in 2016.

“Changes in cattle numbers in North Central Idaho can be attributed in part to variations in calf prices, availability of pastures and grazing lands and winter feed costs,” said Jim Church, Idaho County extension educator, University of Idaho Extension. “Over the last five years we have seen big swings in calf prices and winter feed costs. Also, there always seems to be a shortage of available pastures for producers in the region.”

Within the report, Idaho County, as of the start of the year, reported 19,500 head of beef cows. This is unchanged from the year prior, and is up by 400 from 19,100 head reported in 2013. NASS estimates showed a marked decrease in the intervening years: In 2014, beef cow numbers dropped 6.8 percent (1,300) and remained at 17,800 head into the following year until that loss was regained in 2016.

Overall, Idaho in 2017 reports a total 2,350,000 head of cattle and calves, down by 40,000 (1.7 percent) from the prior year. Idaho County’s 2017 head comprises 1.4 percent of the statewide total.

Statewide, 500,000 head of beef cows were reported this year, the same as reported in 2013, and up by 3,000 from 2016. Idaho County’s 2017 head comprises 3.9 percent of the statewide total and ranks 9th in overall numbers.


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