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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Livestock Losses to Predators

Canine puncture wounds can be measured to identify the predator Livestock losses to predators occurs nationwide. Although historically this has been a problem mostly in the West, the occurrence is increasing in the East as populations of some predators expand their range (e.g., coyotes).

NASS Surveys

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering U.S. agriculture. Results are summarized in reports posted online at APHIS partners with NASS to collect and summarize information about livestock predation. Their latest reports are:

Economics of Livestock Losses and Predation Management

The WS predation management program provides a significant benefit to livestock producers and the public. In an analysis of 1998 (NASS) data, Bodenchuk, Mason, and Pitt found that for every dollar spent for predation management, $3 worth of livestock were saved. The full impact of a $20 million investment in predation management ($9 million in federal funds and $11 million in cooperative funds) was a $250 million net increase in economic activity. Using today's livestock values, the cost:benefit ratio would be much greater. For every federal dollar spent on predation management $10.88 in livestock is saved. Counting cooperative dollars, the cost:benefit ratio is $1:$4.87.

Livestock protection activities to reduce predation from coyotes have cost:benefit ratios ranging from 1:3 to 1:27.

Wyoming's predator management program relating to livestock is cost effective, according to an analysis by the University of Wyoming's College of Agriculture. For each dollar spent in Wyoming on predation management, the benefit to livestock producers is $1.60 to $2.30.

Consideration of the benefits of predation management should include an examination of direct benefits, spillover benefits, and intangible benefits. Direct benefits accrued to the program recipient are calculated based on the number of individual animals saved from predation. Spillover benefits include secondary, indirect or incidental effects and intangible benefits include things such as overall optimized public values for predators where predation impacts are reduced. To read more, Click here

Identifying Livestock Losses to Predators

Livestock may be harmed or killed by parasites, weather, predators, or a wide variety of other conditions and situations. Identifying the cause of livestock losses is the first step in finding solutions to the problem.


Click here for the 23 page booklet, "Lines of Defense: Coping with Predators in the Rocky Mountain Region


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