The Cattle Range Home Page
December 22, 2017
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USDA Cattle Death-Loss Report

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USDA Cattle Death Loss Report

Non-predator causes accounted for almost 98% of all deaths in adult cattle and almost 89% of all deaths in calves.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) has released "Death Loss in U.S. Cattle & Calves Due to Predator & Nonpredator Causes, 2015," a comprehensive report on producer-reported causes of death in cattle and calves in all 50 states.

Since 1995, NAHMS has teamed with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Wildlife Services to produce reports on cattle death loss in the U.S. every five years. This report provides analyses of cattle and calves losses in 2015. In addition, death losses by operation type (beef, dairy, mixed and other) are provided, and when possible, losses in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010 were included for comparison.

Losses for adult cattle and for calves are reported separately and are categorized as predator and non-predator related. In addition, producer-reported methods used to mitigate losses due to predators and the cost of those methods are reported.

NAHMS provided a few highlights from the 2015 report:

  • The total U.S. inventory of adult cattle (heavier than 500 lb.) was 78 million head in 2015, and the total calf crop was 34 million head (NASS data).
  • About one-third of cattle operations had deaths in adult cattle.
  • About 40% of cattle operations had deaths in calves.
  • The estimated cost of death loss in cattle and calves in 2015 was $3.87 billion.
  • Non-predator causes accounted for almost 98% of all deaths in adult cattle and almost 89% of all deaths in calves.
  • The percentage of calf deaths attributed to predators increased steadily from 3.5% in 1995 to 11.1% in 2015.
  • Respiratory problems accounted for the highest percentage of deaths in cattle due to non-predator-related causes (23.9%), followed by unknown causes (14.0%) and old age (11.8%).
  • Respiratory problems also accounted for the highest percentage of deaths in calves due to non-predator-related causes (26.9%).
  • Coyotes accounted for the highest percentage of cattle deaths due to predators (40.5%) as well as the highest percentage of calf deaths due to predators (53.1%).
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