About beef cattle in Missouri

Beef cattle production always has been -- and continues to be -- an important economic activity in Missouri. In fact, Missouri ranks in the top U.S. states for beef inventory and beef farms.

Find background information useful to your business in the Missouri beef industry profile below.

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    Overview of Missouri Beef Industry

    Beef operations are organized into three categories: cow-calf, stocker and fed-cattle operations. On Jan. 1, 2019, 83 percent of Missouri's total cattle inventory was held by cow-calf operations, 12 percent of the inventory was held as stockers and about 2 percent of the inventory was cattle on feed. Dairy cattle -- both cows and replacements -- made up the remainder of cattle reported (about 3 percent).

    Cow-calf 83%
    Stockers 12%
    Cattle on feed 2%
    Dairy 3%
    Total 100%
    Comparison by Year of Cattle Inventory
    Class20152016201720182019
    All cattle and calves 4,000 4,100 4,350 4,350 4,250
    All cows that have calved 1,940 1,990 2,140 2,170 2,140
    • Beef cows
    1,851 1,902 2,055 2,086 2,059
    • Dairy cows
    89 88 85 84 81
    Heifers, at least 500 pounds 630 625 650 600 590
    • Beef cow replacements
    345 360 370 355 345
    • Milk cow replacements
    60 45 45 40 40
    • Other heifers
    225 220 235 205 205
    Steers, at least 500 pounds 400 440 460 410 385
    Bulls, at least 500 pounds 110 115 120 120 125
    Calves, less than 500 pounds 920 920 920 920 920
    Cattle on feed * 70 100 110 80 100
    * Also included in the classes above
    Sources: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service

     

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    Missouri Beef Farms

    In 2012, Missouri had 99,171 farms. Of those, 53.8 percent, or 53,401 farms, reported that they owned cattle or calves. More than 46 percent, or 46,161 farms, reported owning beef cows. Small cattle operations -- those that maintain fewer than 50 beef cows -- controlled nearly 38 percent of Missouri's beef cow inventory in 2012, based on Census of Agriculture data. These operations represented close to 80 percent of all beef cow operations in the state.

    Missouri Beef Cow Operations by Size and Inventory, 2012
    Classification1 to 49 Head50 to 99 Head100 to 499 Head500 or More Head
    Number of operations 36,793 5,981 3,265 122
    Percent of operations 79.7% 13.0% 7.1% 0.3%
    Percent of inventory 37.9% 23.6% 32.6% 5.8%
    Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service

     

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    Missouri Cattle Cash Receipts

    Cash receipts data indicate the cash value that producers earn for selling their commodities. Of the animal-based products tracked, cattle and calves are typically Missouri's largest category for cash receipts. Missouri cattle and calves cash receipts data in 2017 indicate $1.9 billion in value.

    Missouri Animal-based Cash Receipts, 1990 to 2017
    cash comparison of cattle, calves, hogs, dairy and poultry graph

    Source: USDA, Economic Research Service

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    Beef Exports

    The USDA Economic Research Service estimates the value of state-level agricultural exports. The graph below shows beef and veal export data for Missouri and several surrounding states. The states with larger export values than Missouri -- Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa -- have increased the value of their beef and veal exports more significantly than Missouri. However, Missouri's beef and veal export values have mostly increased since 2004. In 2017, Missouri earned an estimated $207 million for its beef and veal exports, and it ranked 10th relative to other U.S. states.

    Value of Beef and Veal Exports from Missouri and Selected States, 2000 to 2017
    graph showing beef and veal export data for Missouri and surrounding states

    Source: USDA, Economic Research Service