Market News & Headlines >> No Surprises in COF Report

There were no surprises for the cattle market in Friday’s USDA monthly Cattle-on-Feed report, which confirmed trade expectations for April placements to be down significantly from last year but also indicated the U.S. feedlot inventory remained historically large on May 1. 

USDA pegged April feedlot placements at 91.7% of a year earlier, compared with trade estimates that averaged 90.9% in a range from 85.6%-94.2%, according to a survey of 12 analysts by Reuters News Service. In actual numbers, April placements totaled 1.695 million head, 15,000 above the average of trade estimates, but still 153,000 head less than a year earlier. 

April feedlot marketings were reported by USDA at 105.9% of a year earlier, versus trade estimates that averaged 106.0% of a year earlier in a range from 105.7%-106.3%. April marketings totaled 1.803 million head, 2,000 below the average of trade estimates, but 100,000 above a year earlier. Marketings were the largest for the month in five years. 

The May 1 feedlot inventory was pegged by USDA at 105.1% compared with pre-report expectations that averaged 104.9% of a year earlier in a range from 104.1%-105.4%. At 11.558 million head, the feedlot inventory was 23,000 head larger than the average of expectations and 560,000 head larger than a year earlier. The feedlot inventory was the largest for May 1 in 12 years.