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Cattle on Feed Report overshadowed by pandemic fears


News Staff - March 23, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - Overall the March Cattle on Feed report is considered relatively neutral, but the lower placement number will depress production later in the year. The impact of COVID-19 and the extreme uncertainty the virus has injected into all aspects of the market, businesses and life in these times are big unknowns.

The tightness of animal numbers and the decline of placements could potentially mean that when (if) things return to normal later in the year, cattle prices could be moving into more bullish territory. 

As usual, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska lead the way in total fed cattle numbers, accounting for over 7.8 million head, or approximately 66% of the total on-feed inventory in the country. Texas continued to gain year-over-year, adding 6% relative to 2019. Kansas also saw a gain, adding 4% over 2019, but Nebraska reported a 5% decline

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.9 million head on February 1, 2020. The inventory was 2 percent above February 1, 2019.

Placements in feedlots during January totaled 1.96 million head, 1 percent below 2019. Net placements were 1.90 million head. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 390,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 455,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 535,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 400,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 105,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.93 million head, 1 percent above 2019.

Other disappearance totaled 54,000 head during January, 11 percent below 2019.

On March 1, there were 2.53 million head of cattle and calves on feed in the Northern High Plains, 88 percent of the state's total. The number on feed across the area was up 4 percent from last year but down 2 percent from the February 1 total.

February placements in the Northern High Plains totaled 285 thousand head, down 14 percent from the January total. Marketings were down 4 percent from last month at 323 thousand head

Colorado Cattle on Feed up six percent
The number of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Colorado feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger was estimated at 1,100,000 head as of February 1, 2020. The latest inventory was up 1 percent from January 1, 2020 and up 6 percent from February 1, 2019.

Cattle feeders with 1,000 head or larger capacity marketed an estimated 190,000 head of fed cattle during January 2020, up 31 percent from the previous month and up 12 percent from the January 2019 marketings.

An estimated 205,000 cattle and calves were placed on feed during January 2020, 46 percent above last month, but no change from the January 2019 placements. Of the number placed in January, 20 percent weighed less than 600 pounds, 24 percent weighed from 600 to 699 pounds, 27 percent weighed from 700 to 799 pounds, 20 percent weighed 800 to 899 pounds, and 10 percent weighed 900 pounds or greater.

Other disappearance for January was estimated at 5,000 head, no change from last month or last year.

Minnesota Cattle on Feed down 20,000 head
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Minnesota for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 135,000 head on February 1, 2020, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This is unchanged from last month but down 20,000 head from last year.

Placements during January totaled 17,000 head, up 7,000 head from December and up 2,000 head from last year.

Marketings for January were 16,000 head, up 2,000 head from December and last year. Other disappearance totaled 1,000 head.

Iowa Cattle on feed down 3 percent
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 670,000 head on February 1, 2020, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from January, but down 3 percent from February 1, 2019. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 640,000 head on feed, up 3 percent from last month but unchanged from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,310,000 head, up 2 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January totaled 111,000 head, up 54 percent from December but unchanged from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 88,000 head, down 13 percent from December but up 47 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 199,000 head, up 15 percent from December and up 16 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January totaled 108,000 head, up 20 percent from December but down 1 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 62,000 head, up 9 percent from December and up 35 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 170,000 head, up 16 percent from December and up 10 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 9,000 head.

Nebraska Cattle on Feed down 4 percent
Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.48 million cattle on feed on February 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 4 percent from last year.

Placements during January totaled 510,000 head, down 1 percent from 2019.

Fed cattle marketings for the month of January totaled 480,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Other disappearance during January totaled 10,000 head, down 5,000 head from last year.

Texas Cattle on Feed up four percent
This report contains results from the March 2020 Cattle on Feed Survey collected during the first two weeks of March. Data provided by Oklahoma and Texas producers are the foundation of the estimates made for the Southern Plains region.

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Texas feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 2.88 million head on March 1, 2020, up 4 percent from a year ago.

Producers placed 320 thousand head in commercial feedlots during February, down 14 percent from a year ago.

Texas commercial feeders marketed 365 thousand head during February, up 7 percent from 2019.

Oklahoma Cattle on Feed up three percent
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Oklahoma feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 320 thousand head on March 1, 2020, up 3 percent from a year ago. Producers placed 36 thousand head in commercial feedlots during February, down 18 percent from a year ago.

Oklahoma commercial feeders marketed 40 thousand head during February, down 17 percent from 2019.

Other disappearance during February totaled 1 thousand head, unchanged from a year ago.



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