As the United States cowherd continues to shrink, producers are becoming more efficient in producing beef, explained a research analyst with CattleFax.

Brett Stuart spoke to a group of cattle producers about marketing trends in the beef industry, during a meeting hosted by the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association and Intervet/Schering-Plough in Rapid City during the Black Hills Stock Show.

Stuart said current beef cow inventory in the United States has dropped below 32 million head, which is the lowest inventory in the U.S. since 1963. It has dropped 4.2 million or 11% since 1996.

Stuart added more heifers are also going into the feedlots, rather than going back into the herd as replacements. “The number of heifers on feed has grown significantly over the last four years,” he said.

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