Market News & Headlines >> U.S. Feedlot Inventory Up 8.1% From Last Year

The monthly USDA Cattle-on-Feed report released on Dec. 22 held fundamentally bearish news for the cattle market in the form of larger-than-expected November feedlot placements and a larger-than-expected Dec. 1 feedlot inventory. 

USDA pegged November feedlot placements at 113.9% of a year earlier, easily topping trade expectations that averaged 105.7% of  year earlier in a range from 99.2%-111.0%, according to a Reuters News Service survey. November placements of 2.099 million head were the largest in 10 years and November was the ninth straight month that placements were larger than a year earlier. 

The Dec. 1 feedlot inventory was reported by USDA at 108.1% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 106.7% in a range from 105.6%-107.4%.  In actual numbers, the Dec. 1 feedlot inventory totaled 11.516 million head, 864,000 than a year earlier. The inventory was the largest for the date in seven years. The USDA report implied that Dec. 1 supplies of market-ready cattle (on feed for more than 120 days) were 4.0% larger than a year earlier. 

Feedlot marketings were larger than a year earlier for the sixteenth straight month in December, with USDA pegging them at 103.2% of a year earlier, compared with trade estimates that averaged 103.0% in a range from 101.6%-103.5%. Marketings were the highest on record for the month of November in the current USDA data series that started in 1996. 

Texas led the surge in November feedlot placements. Placements of cattle into Texas feedlots during November were 23.1% above a year earlier, according to USDA., November placements were larger than a year earlier in all reported weight categories, but placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were especially big at nearly 30% larger than a year earlier. Most of those cattle will likely stay on feed into next summer.