Market News & Headlines >> February Feedlot Placements Seen Up

The livestock trade is expecting Friday’s monthly USDA Cattle-on-Feed Report to show that the supply of cattle in U.S. feedlots climbed closer to a year earlier during February as record high live cattle prices encouraged larger feedlot placements relative to a year earlier for the third straight month. 

USDA is also expected to report February feedlot marketings were several percentage points below a year earlier due to tighter market-ready cattle supplies and harsh winter weather. 

Trade estimates of the March 1 feedlot inventory average 98.8% of a year earlier in a range from 97.8%-100.1%. By comparison, the Feb. 1 feedlot inventory was 97.2% of a year earlier and the Jan. 1 inventory was only 94.8% of a year earlier.

Trade estimates of February feedlot placements average 109.2% of a year earlier in a range from 102.2%-118.2%, while estimates of February marketings average only 96.7% in a range from 96%-98.3%.

However, February feedlot placements are expected to be up so sharply on a year-over-year basis in large part because February 2013 placements were the lowest in the current USDA data series going back to 1996. If they come in at the average of trade expectations, February placements would still be about 4% below the five-year average.

If the March 1 feedlot inventory comes in at the average of trade expectations, it would be about 130,000 head smaller than a year earlier and would still be the smallest for the date since 2003.

If February feedlot marketings come in at the average of trade expectations, they would be down about 238,000 from January and 53,000 head from last year. Marketings would also be record low for the month.