Market News & Headlines >> Cattle-on-Feed Report Mildly Friendly

This past Friday afternoon’s monthly USDA Cattle-on-Feed Report appeared to contain neutral to mildly friendly news for the cattle market, pegging October feedlot placements and the Nov. 1 feedlot inventory below the averages of trade estimates. 

USDA pegged the Nov. 1 U.S. feedlot inventory at 101.2% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 101.4% of a year earlier in a range from 98.2%-102.5%, according to a survey of eight analyst by Dow Jones Newswires. 

October feedlot placements were reported by USDA at 110.2% versus trade estimates that averaged 112.2% of a year earlier in a wide range from 96.2%-119.0%, while USDA put October marketings at 99.4% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 99.6% of a year earlier in a narrow range from 99.3%-100.1%. 

In actual numbers, the Nov. 1 feedlot inventory totaled 11.831 million head, up 139,000 head from a year earlier and was the largest for the date since 2011. 

October feedlot placements were 2.477 million head, 229,000 more than a year earlier and the largest for the month since 2010.  October feedlot marketings totaled 1.875 million head, 12,000 below a year earlier. 

Large October feedlot placements were expected by most observers with large numbers of cattle coming off pasture. Favorable pasture conditions combined with higher corn prices this summer led producers to keep more cattle on pasture. Feedlot placements ran below a year earlier for four straight months from May to August. The October Cattle-on-Feed report implied that the total supply of feeder cattle outside of feedlots was 101.1% of a year earlier. 

USDA’s breakdown of feedlot placements by weight showed large placements of cattle in the heavier weight categories. October placements of cattle weighing 800-899 pounds were 130.9% of a year earlier, with placements of 700-799 pound cattle at 114.9%. In contrast, placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were only 93.8% of a year earlier.