Market News & Headlines >> November Feedlot Placements Down Sharply

Friday’s monthly USDA Cattle-on-Feed report contained a big dose of bullish news for the cattle market as it pegged November feedlot placements well below trade expectations and put monthly feedlot marketings at the high end of expectations.

As a result, the Dec. 1 feedlot inventory was also below the range of trade expectations and was slightly below a year earlier, the first year-over-year decline in on-feed supplies since March.

Lower feedlot placements were expected due to weakening fed cattle prices and negative feedlot margins, but USDA pegged November feedlot placements at only 89.2% of a year earlier, compared with trade estimates that averaged 95.8% of a year earlier in a range from 92.0%-100.0%, according to a Reuters News Service survey of 10 livestock analysts.

November feedlot marketings, meanwhile, came in at 103.9% of a year earlier against pre-report estimates that averaged 102.7% of a year earlier in a range from 101.4%-104.0%. The supply of cattle in U.S. feedlots as of Dec. 1 was pegged by USDA at 99.8% of a year earlier versus trade estimates that averaged 101.0% in a range from 100.4%-101.7%.

In actual numbers, November feedlot placements were 1.601 million head, 193,000 head smaller than a year earlier and the smallest on record for the month in the current USDA data series going back to 1996.

November marketings of 1.532 million head were 57 million head above a year earlier, although they were still 142,000 head below the five-year average for the month and the second lowest on record since 1996.

The Dec. 1 feedlot inventory in actual numbers was 10.794 million head, 22,000 head smaller than a year earlier and the fourth smallest on record going back to 1995.