U.S. cattle inventory is lowest in 70 years

Improving moisture conditions could lead ranchers to start rebuilding herds.

U.S. cattle numbers reached their lowest level since 1951, marking the fifth consecutive year of decline, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's cattle inventory report released last week. 

The total population of cattle and calves stood at 87.2 million head as of Jan. 1, a 2% drop from the previous year. The beef cow herd also decreased by 2% to 28.2 million head, the...