Market News & Headlines >> February Feedlot Placements Largest Since 2008

Friday afternoon’s monthly USDA Cattle-on-Feed report looked mildly negative for live cattle prices as it pegged February feedlot placements and the March 1 feedlot inventory toward the high end of trade expectations. 

USDA reported February feedlot placements of 1.710 million head, 110.3% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 108.3% in a range from 99.3%-114.3%. The larger placements ended a 7-month string of year-over-year declines in placements. Placements were the largest for the month of February in eight years. 

The supply of cattle in U.S. feedlots as of March 1 was put at 10.770 million head or 100.8% of a year earlier versus trade estimates that averaged 100.5% of a year earlier in a range from 99.2%-101.5%. 

February feedlot marketings also came in above a year earlier, largely because the month contained one more marketing day than last year due to 2016 being a leap year. USDA pegged February feedlot marketings at 1.561 million head, 104.9% of a year earlier and the largest for the month in three years. 

Feedlot placements were larger than a year earlier in all four weight categories, but continued to have a heavy bias with placements of cattle weighing 800 pounds or more at 112.5% of a year earlier and placements in the 700-799 pound category at 112.4% of a year earlier.  The large heavyweight placements may weigh on June and August live cattle futures.