The cattle population in Quay County — now 31,244 — has grown a little since the first quarter of this year, but remains substantially lower than it was last year.
There are about 24 percent fewer cows than the same time two years ago, according to Quay County Assessor Janie Hoffman.
The cattle count in the first quarter of this year was 31,123. That is 21-head lower than the current number, assessor’s information shows.
On July 3, 2012, however, the total was 35,869. Two years ago, in July 2011, the count was 41,133.
Between 2009 and the first quarter of 2013, Quay County ranches reduced their cattle herds by more than one third, according to assessor’s data. Hoffman said the current drought has caused steep drops in the size of local ranch herds.
From the 2009 level of 46,844 head, the first-quarter 2013 cattle count shrunk by 33.5 percent. About two-thirds of that reduction occurred between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.
The decline from 39, 526 to 31,123 totaled 8,403 head or 21 percent.