The United States Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released its Jan. 1, 2019 county level estimates of cattle. These estimates showed a total of 2.13 million cattle and calves in the commonwealth, down slightly from the 2.16 million head reported in 2018. This number puts Kentucky at 14th in the nation in terms of number of cattle, and the number one state east of the Mississippi river.

"For many counties in the state, cattle ranks as the first or second source of farm income," said David Knopf, director of the NASS Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Kentucky. "It's encouraging to see inventories remain large, knowing that this enterprise supports families and rural communities." Cash receipts from cattle in 2017 totaled $739 million. Barren county had the largest inventory of cattle and calves with 85,000 head. The top 5 counties in total number of cattle are as follows:

1. Barren 85,000

2. Madison 67,000

3. Pulaski 63,000

4. Bourbon 52,000

5. Lincoln 52,000

Other significant counties include Monroe, Allen, Marion, and Garrard, as each has more than 45,000 total head and have a sizable impact on the condition of the cattle industry in the state.

The leading county in number of beef cows was Barren county with 36,500 head. The top five counties for number of beef cows include:

1. Barren 36,500

2. Pulaski 31,000

3. Madison 26,500

4. Warren 23,000

5. Breckinridge 23,000

Barren county also led in number of dairy cows with 7,300 head. This is an increase of just over 1,000 within the county, differing from the statewide trend, which showed a decrease. The top 5 counties for dairy cows include:

1. Barren 7,300

2. Adair 4,200

3. Logan 3,300

4. Christian 3,000

5. Todd 2,900

Of the 2.13 million total cattle, cows accounted for 1.07 million, a decrease from 1.09 million in 2018. Calves made up the second largest group with 460,000, down from 500,000 in last year's estimate. Steers and bulls also accounted for 225,000 and 70,000 respectively. This shows an increase of 30,000 in the number of steers from last year, while the amount of bulls remained the same.

The total number of heifers was estimated to be 305,000 which is consistent with the past two years. Of these, beef replacement heifers made up 130,000, down 15,000 from the prior year. Dairy replacement heifers were at 45,000, unchanged from last year. Other heifers comprised the remaining 130,000, which is an increase of 15,000 from 2018.

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