2005 Montana and United States Cattle Predator Losses
Released: May 5, 2006
For more information contact: Thomas Chard at 1-800-835-2612.
Montana cattle producers lost 20,000 head of cattle, weighing 500 lbs or more, and 46,000 calves, weighing less than 500 lbs, to all causes during 2005. A special report released every five years details the types of cattle and calf losses and the value of the losses. During 2005, 600 head of cattle, weighing 500 lbs or more and 2,400 calves, weighing less than 500 pounds were lost to predators. The total value of the cattle and calves lost to predators was estimated to be $1.671 million dollars with the value of calves lost at $994,000. Coyotes were the largest single cause of calf losses with 1,300 calves lost during 2005.

A total of 19,400 cattle and 43,600 calves were lost in Montana due to non-predators. The value of non-predator losses was $40.0 million. The value of cattle losses were $21.9 million and calf losses amounted to $18.1 million. The leading causes of non-predator cattle losses were unknown, 4,200 head; other, 3,500 head; and respiratory with 3,100 head. The leading causes of calf losses were calving problems, 11,300 head; weather related, 10,200 head; and respiratory with 7,800 head.

The use of non-lethal predator control practices were published in this report. The percentage of Montana cattle producers utilizing the following non-lethal predator practices are:

Guard Animals - 21.8%
Predator Exclusion Fencing - 21.1%
Herding of animals - 9.6%
Night Penning of cattle - 9.9%
Frequent checks - 31.4%
Fright Tactics - 7.8%
Carcass Removal - 18.5%
Culling - 31.7%
Other non-lethal methods - 11.7%

Cattle and calf losses from animal predators and non-predator causes in the United States totaled 4.05 million head (excluding Alaska). This report provides detailed breakouts of cattle and calf losses by predators and non-predator causes, as well as data on non-lethal predator control measures.

Cattle and calf losses from animal predators totaled 190,000 head. This represented 4.7 percent of the total losses from all causes and resulted in a loss of $92.7 million to farmers and ranchers. Coyotes and dogs caused the majority of cattle and calf losses accounting for 51.1 percent and 11.5 percent respectively.

Cattle and calf losses from non-predator causes totaled 3.86 million head or 95.3 percent of the total losses. Respiratory problems was the leading cause of non-predator deaths accounting for 28.7 percent, followed by digestive problems at 16.8 percent.

Farmers and ranchers throughout the United States spent 199.1 million dollars on non-lethal methods to control predators. Use of guard animals was the most common method at 38.0 percent. Exclusion fencing, frequent checking, and culling were the next most commonly used methods of preventing cattle and calf losses at 34.0 percent, 21.8 percent, and 19.6 percent respectively.

This report is released as a cooperative effort between the National Agricultural Statistics Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Wildlife Services and Veterinary Services.
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