Market News & Headlines >> March Feedlot Placements Top Expectations

Friday afternoon’s monthly Cattle-on-Feed report from USDA had a bearish look to it for the live cattle market, pegging March feedlot placements and the April 1 feedlot inventory above trade expectations.

USDA reported the number of cattle placed on feed during March at 100% of a year earlier, compared with trade estimates that averaged 5.1% below a year earlier in range from 2.3% lower to 8.7% lower, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 13 analysts.

March placements of 1.809 million head were actually a marginal 8,000 head larger than a year earlier, although they were still about 1.8% below the five-year average for the date.

The April 1 feedlot inventory was steady with a year earlier, compared with pre-report estimates that averaged 1.2% lower in a range from 0.5% lower to 2.4% lower. In actual numbers, the feedlot inventory was 10.797 million head, 5,000 head larger than a year earlier.

USDA pegged March feedlot marketings at 1.7% below a year earlier, against trade estimates averaging 1.9% lower in a range from 1.2% lower to 3.8% lower. In actual numbers, March feedlot marketings were 1.631 million head, down 29,000 from a year earlier and were the lowest on record for the month, dating back to 1996.