Historic drought conditions took a toll on the Texas cow herd in 2011 as more than 150,000 head left the state for greener pastures — three times more than the 45,000 recorded in 2010, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist.

David Anderson, AgriLife Extension livestock marketing economist in College Station, cited Texas Animal Health Commission out-shipment data, which is the number of animals receiving veterinary inspection certificates prior to interstate movement.

“Out-shipments are cattle moving out of state from Texas and they might also be called Texas’ cattle exports to other states,” he said.

“Reported out-shipments rose dramatically above 2010 in August-October. Total cattle reported shipped out of state in 2011 was 1.113 million head, 287,000 more than in 2010.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Jan. 1 cattle inventory for all cattle and calves totaled 90.8 million head, 2 percent below the 92.7 million on Jan. 1, 2011.

It is the lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 88.1 million on hand in 1952, according to USDA.

Texas, the nation’s largest beef cow producing state, saw a decline in 2011, in the number of beef cows of 660,000, to 4.365 million head.

“That’s the smallest cow herd since 1960,” Anderson said.