How Many Cows Are In The World?

Ever wondered how many cows are in the world? There is a lot of speculation surrounding cattle population, people find it hard to know the exact figure. Seeing the high demand, it is understandable that the number is in billions. World cattle inventory has increased by multiple folds since the last years.

The cow is an intelligent creature and easy to keep. Cattle farming is a profitable business as more and more farmers have stepped foot in this venture.

Cattle are undoubtedly the most popular type of livestock. Therefore, it is bred and kept by farmers for milk and beef. 

As per the figures and estimates, the cattle population will likely increase in the future as the demand for beef is not coming down anytime soon.

When the population of cattle is counted against other farm animals, cows have a larger population and offer more meat per animal. 

The question is still unanswered as to the number of cows in the world. Different countries have a different population of cows according to the demand for meat.

The increased cattle population also has an impact on the environment as well. Here’s what you need to know about the cattle population.

How Many Cows Are There In The World?

As you might have guessed, the number is in billions. As per different estimates, over a billion cows roam planet earth currently.

These are battles are either kept as pets or farmed for meat, mostly the latter. The cattle inventory reported by the USDA is about 01 billion head in 2021.

The population was increased by roughly 13.2 million from the last year. In 2020, the cattle population was approximately 989 million.

Cows were started getting domesticated about 5000 to 10000 years ago.

From ancient times to today, cows are bred, raised, and kept for meat and dairy.

Though you do not see it quite often as it is a thing of the past, cows can be used as draft animals to plow the fields or transport heavy objects.

Cattle hide is used to produce leather and dung for fuel and fertilizer. Because of the increased demand for cow-related products, the farmers are focusing on selective breed and expanding the population to get more profits.

Why Are Cows So Populous?

Cows have a large population than other livestock by comparison. Compare the cows to some other farm animals and you will know the reason behind their popularity.

For instance, there are 1 billion sheep, 40 million donkeys, and 20 million camels in the world. Ever wonder what makes cows so popular among people?

If you think it is people’s love for cows and their innocence, you could not be more wrong.

Love for cows is secondary, most farmers try hard to increase the number of cows on the farms because of the profits made from dairy and beef.

Beef is a popular meat option for many households and a wanted item on the menu of a restaurant.

Since cattle hide is also used in making leather, so, it has become a necessity for farmers to increase the number of cattle by breeding them.

With the increased commercial demands, farmers have to expand the population of livestock animals and poultry. 

The historical significance can not be downplayed to find the purpose for the increasing Cattle population and popularity.

It has been a food staple in Asia and many countries for centuries and beef is used to prepare native dishes.

All these reasons ask for a further increase in population. In the coming years, you will get to see a sharp rise in the cattle inventory to meet the requirements of the future.

Breaking the fact How Many Hearts Does A Cow Have?

cows in world

Cattle Population By County

Every country produces stuff and breeds animals according to the demands. India was the home to the largest milk cow population in 2018.

The crowned country with the largest cattle population in 2021 is also India. It all depends on the demand, beef popularity, and consumption in the country.

India, Brazil, and China are the top three countries with huge cattle populations. Argentina, United States, and Australia do host a large population of cattle as well.

It is often said that in some of these highly populous countries, there are more cows than people. 

India

In India, the cow is a sacred animal and most people choose to worship it as well. For years, it has been one of the most populated countries in terms of cattle and people.

In 2021, the cattle population of India stands at 305.7 million and has increased by 2.3 million from the prior year.

Even though an average person does not consume much beef, still, the population is increasing each year. India makes up about 30.52% of the global cattle population.

Brazil

Brazil has seen a sharp rise in cattle population by approximately 8.5 million in comparison with the prior year.

The cattle inventory in Brazil is 257.7 million heads as reported by the USDA. Brazil represents 25.25% of the cattle inventory.

China

China comes third with the most cattle population. In the current year, the population of cattle is about 95.6 million up by approximately 4.2 million from the last year. China contributes about 9.55% to the cattle population.

United States

The fourth spot is grabbed by the United States of America. In the US alone, the cattle population is about 9.3 million in 2021.

The population is decreased by 198,000 heads from the last year. The US is responsible for 9.35% of the global cattle inventory.

European Union

In 2021, here, the population of the European Union is 85.5 million down by about 1 million from the prior year. European Union accounts for 8.5% of the cattle population.

Argentina

In 2021, the cattle population of Argentina is roughly 53.8 million representing 5.38% of the world’s cattle population. The number of heads is down by 630K from 2020.

Australia

This year, Australia’s cattle population has seen a downward trend.

The cattle inventory reported by the USDA is 23.2 million, decreased by 473K from last year.

Australia is accountable for 2.32% of the cattle inventory. 

Russia

Russia accounts for 1.79% of the world’s population for cattle. In 2021, Russia has a cattle population of 17.9 million down by 69K from the prior year. 

Mexico

Mexico has the world’s cattle population of 17 million contributing 1.7% to the total number. In 2020, the cattle population was 16.9 million, this year, it has been increased by 100K.

Furthermore, Uruguay and Canada’s cattle population is 11.9 million and 11.1 million respectively. New Zealand is ranked 12th with a cattle population of over 10 million. 

Impact of Increasing Cattle Population on Environment

The food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has warned people of the undesirable impact of the increased number of farmed animals.

As per the figure given by the esteemed organization, carbon emissions by the famed animals account for 15 percent of global human-induced emissions.

Beef and milk, being the main culprit as a single pound of beef requires 13 percent more fossil fuel.

Cows also emit Methane during digestion which is a dangerous greenhouse gas. Some scientists believe that it is 84% more potent than Carbon Dioxide.

Being large animals, they also require more space to live. About 91% of the Amazon rainforest destruction is done by cattle alone.

Besides the impact on the environment, factory-farmed cows raised for dairy and beef live a nightmarish life of torture, confinement, and mutilation.

Putting it all together, the estimated figure of cattle population provided by the USDA is 1,000,967,000. The cattle population is expanding each year owing to the increasing demands. Cows are bred and pushed to increase the number to meet the requirements of the present.  

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  • Hi, I am Talon Juper, a passionate farmer, and Livestock Expert. I have done my graduation in Agriculture and Animal breeding. Relevant to Farm Desire as a research writer and data recorder.

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