Market News & Headlines >> Feedlot Placements Seen Down Again

The livestock trade is expecting Thursday afternoon’s monthly USDA Cattle-on-Feed report to show that U.S. feedlot placements were below a year earlier for the third month in a row during November, but were still historically large. 

Trade estimates of November feedlot placements average 93.8% of a year earlier in a range from 89.2%-100.9%, according to a Reuters News Service survey of 11 analysts.  Pre-report estimates of November feedlot marketings average 101.0% of a year earlier in a range from 100.7%-101.3%, while estimates of the December 1 feedlot inventory average 101.8% of a year earlier in a range from 101.0%-103.2%. 

Improved feedlot margins and improved pasture conditions in the U.S. Plains favor smaller November placements. At the average of trade estimates, November placements would total 1.970 million head, down 129,000 head from a year earlier. However, even at that level, November placements would be 7.2% above the five-year average as November 2017 placements were the largest for the month in 10 years. 

At the average of pre-report estimates, November feedlot marketings would total 1.862 million head, 18,000 above a year earlier and would be the largest on record for the month in the current USDA data series, which goes back to 1996. 

If the Dec. 1 feedlot inventory were to come in at the average of expectations, it would total 11.724 million head, 208,000 head larger than a year earlier and would be the largest for the date in 7 years.