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March Cattle on Feed report shows inventory up, decline in placements and marketings

USDA – Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for  feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on  March 1, 2021. The inventory was 2 percent above March 1, 2020.

After strong impacts from the pandemic last spring, the number of cattle on feed has largely followed seasonal patterns, says Michael Nepveux, American Farm Bureau Market-intel economist, but since August has mostly been running above recent years’ levels, with this Cattle on Feed report continuing that pattern, even with a month-over-month decline. This report marks the second highest March inventory since the series began in 1996.

Texas, Kansas and Nebraska led the way in total fed cattle numbers, accounting for over 8 million head, or approximately 67% of the total on-feed inventory in the country. Texas mostly held steady relative to 2020. Kansas and Nebraska posted moderate gains, adding 4% each.

Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.68 million head, 2 percent  below 2020. Net placements were 1.63 million head. During February,  placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were  335,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 295,000 head, 700-799 pounds were  465,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 409,000 head, 900-999 pounds were  125,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 55,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.73 million head, 2 percent  below 2020.

Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during February, unchanged from 2020.

On March 1, there were 2.54 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 slightly from last year but down 1 percent from the February 1 total. February placements in the Northern High Plains totaled 278 thousand head, down 23 percent from the January total. Marketings were down 4 percent from last month at 302 thousand head.

The February winter storm that stretched down throughout the country’s cattle feeding region and crippled much of Texas, a key feeding and cow/calf state, made predicting this month’s numbers particularly difficult. The weather hampered producers’ ability to move animals, and we saw feeder and stocker sales decline. Slower sales would negatively impact both placement and marketing numbers. Cattle imports were down in February as well, which also could impact placements, adding to the uncertainty.

Minnesota: Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Minnesota for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 115,000 head on March 1, 2021, 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 March 2020.

Placements during February totaled 13,000 head, down 2,000 head from January, but unchanged from last February.

Marketings for February were 12,000 head, down 2,000 head from last month but unchanged from a year ago. Other disappearance totaled 1,000 head.

Colorado: 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 March 1, 2021. The latest inventory was down 2 percent from February 1, 2021 but up 5 percent from March 1, 2020.

Cattle feeders with 1,000 head or larger capacity marketed an estimated 180,000 head of fed cattle during February 2021, unchanged from the previous month but down 12 percent from the February 2020 marketings.

An estimated 165,000 head of cattle and calves were placed on feed during February 2021, 15 percent below last month, but up 3 percent from the February 2020 placements. Of the number placed in February, 18 percent weighed less than 600 pounds, 18 percent weighed from 600 to 699 pounds, 24 percent weighed from 700 to 799 pounds, 27 percent weighed 800 to 899 pounds and 12 percent weighed 900 pounds or greater.

Other disappearance for February, at 5,000 head, was unchanged from last month and last year.

Nebraska: Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.61 million cattle on feed on March 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 4% from last year.

Placements during February totaled 440,000 head, down 3% from 2020.

Fed cattle marketings for the month of February totaled 430,000 head, up 1% from last year.

Other disappearance during February totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Iowa: Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 630,000 head on March 1, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 2% from February, but down 6% from March 2020. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 540,000 head on feed, down 4% from last month and down 14% from last March. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,170,000 head, down 1% from last month and down 10% from a year ago.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during February totaled 110,000 head, unchanged from January but up 2% from February 2020. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 32,000 head, down 47% from January and down 54% from last February. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 142,000 head, down 16% from January and down 20% from a year ago.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during February totaled 98,000 head, unchanged from January but down 8% from February 2020. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 54,000 head, up 10% from January but down 32% from last February. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 152,000 head, up 3% from January but down 18% from a year ago. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 5,000 head.

NOTE: This report is a combination of estimates from the USDA Cattle on Feed survey for Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-funded Cattle on Feed survey for Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head.

Kansas: Kansas feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.47 million cattle on feed on March 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 4% from last year.

Placements during February totaled 375,000 head, down 4% from 2020.

Fed cattle marketings for the month of February totaled 415,000 head, up 4% from last year.

Other disappearance during February totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Oklahoma & Texas: This report contains results from the March 2021 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 2.87 million head on March 1, 2021, down slightly from a year ago.

Producers placed 310 thousand head in commercial feedlots during February, down 3 percent from a year ago.

Texas commercial feeders marketed 335 thousand head during February, down 8 percent from 2020.

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