Market News & Headlines >> Larger Cattle Numbers on Way

Last Friday’s USDA monthly Cattle-on-Feed Report pointed the way to larger fed cattle supplies ahead next fall and winter, pegging April feedlot placements at the high end of trade expectations and well above the average of pre-report expectations. 

The placements, the largest for the month in three years, pushed the May 1 feedlot inventory above the range of trade expectations and sent most live cattle and feeder cattle futures contracts down their daily limits on Monday. 

USDA pegged April feedlot placements at 107.5% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates averaging 99.2% in a wide range from 93.0%-110.2%. In addition, placement weights continued to skew heavy in April with placements of cattle weighing more than 800 pounds up 11.7% from a year earlier. In actual numbers, April placements were 116,000 head larger than a year earlier and 128,000 head larger than the average of trade expectations. 

USDA put the May 1 U.S. feedlot inventory (12-state) at 101.3% of a year earlier versus pre-report expectations that averaged 100.1% of a year earlier in a range from 99.0%-100.7%. In actual numbers, the May 1 feedlot inventory was 143,000 head larger than a year earlier. 

USDA pegged April feedlot marketings at 101.2% of a year earlier against trade estimates that averaged 102.4% of a year earlier in a range from 100.7%-108.4%. In actual numbers, April marketings were 19,000 head larger than a year earlier.  This April contained one less marketing day than April 2015