Head count: India is world’s cattle king

Americans home on the range in Texas or Nebraska, especially, might wonder how in the world any other country in the world could have more cattle than the United States.

Well, turns out, it’s not even that close. According to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the United States is a distant fourth in the 2017 world cattle inventory.

According to the FAS’s counting methodology, which includes water buffalo in its calculations, India is home to the world’s largest cattle inventory — more than 30% of the world’s nearly 1 billion cattle.  

Recent projections of 2017 beef exports projects the top four exporting countries to be Brazil, India, Australia and the United States.

World Cattle Inventory
Source: FAS/USDA
  Country 2017 World %
1 India 303,350,000 30.39%
2 Brazil 226,037,000 22.64%
3 China 100,085,000 10.03%
4 United States 93,500,000 9.37%
5 European Union 89,250,000 8.94%
6 Argentina 53,515,000 5.36%
7 Australia 27,750,000 2.78%
8 Russia 18,430,000 1.85%
9 Mexico 16,500,000 1.65%
10 Turkey 14,047,000 1.41%
11 Canada 12,100,000 1.21%
12 Uruguay 11,845,000 1.19%
  World Total 998,313,000

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