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June Cattle on Feed report shows inventory up from a year ago


USDA - June 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.8 million head on May 1, 2019. The inventory was 2 percent above May 1, 2018. This is the highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.84 million head, 9 percent above 2018. Net placements were 1.78 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 355,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 250,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 447,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 495,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 210,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 85,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.93 million head, 7 percent above 2018.
Other disappearance totaled 60,000 head during April, 5 percent below 2018.

Texas, Nebraska and Kansas lead the way in total fed cattle numbers, accounting for just under 7.7 million head, or approximately 65% of the total on-feed inventory in the country.

While total inventories are an important component of the report, other key factors include placements (new animals being placed on feed) and marketings (animals being taken off feed and sold for slaughter). Typically, May tends to be a larger month for placements, in part due to animals moving off wheat pasture in the southern Plains, and other backgrounding operations elsewhere into feedyards. However, this May most analysts were predicting a rather significant drawback with a 4.1% decrease on average, and some analysts predicting as much as a 7% decline from a year ago.

A result of historic delays in plantings, corn prices are likely to pressure feeder cattle lower as higher feed costs tend to depress what feedlots are willing to pay for feeder cattle. Excellent pasture and range conditions reported in USDA’s Crop Progress report combined with these higher feed costs may incentivize keeping animals on pasture longer, which could result in higher placement weights later on down the road.

In the Northern High Plains, On April 1, there were 2.51 million head of cattle and calves on feed on April 1, 88 percent of the state's total. The number on feed across the area was up 7 percent from last year and up 3 percent from the March 1 total. March placements in the Northern High Plains totaled 428 thousand head, up 29 percent from the February total. Marketings were up 12 percent from last month at 344 thousand head.

South Dakota feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 230,000 cattle on feed on June 1, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 2 percent from last year.

Placements during May totaled 40,000 head, up 38 percent from 2018.
Fed cattle marketings for the month of May totaled 49,000 head, up 9 percent from last year.
Other disappearance during May totaled 6,000 head, up 2,000 head from last year.

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.43 million cattle on feed on June 1, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 4 percent from last year.

Placements during May totaled 460,000 head, down 1 percent from 2018.
Fed cattle marketings for the month of May totaled 570,000 head, unchanged from last year.
Other disappearance during May totaled 20,000 head, down 5,000 head from last year.

Texas feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 2.85 million head on April 1, 2019, up 6 percent from a year ago. Producers placed 480 thousand head in commercial feedlots during March, up 5 percent from a year ago. Texas commercial feeders marketed 390 thousand head during March, down 7 percent from 2018.

Kansas feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 2.38 million head  on April 1, 2019.  Producers placed  470,000 head in commercial feedlots during March. Kansas commercial feeders marketed  375 thousand  head during March.



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