Market News & Headlines >> USDA Report Neutral for Cattle Market

Last Friday’s USDA monthly Cattle-on-Feed report was about as neutral as it could be for the live cattle market as it confirmed that February feedlot placements were slightly below a year earlier, while the March 1 feedlot inventory was marginally above a year earlier. 

USDA estimated the March 1 feedlot inventory at 100.0% of a year earlier compared with trade estimates that averaged 100.1% of a year earlier in a range from 99.1%-100.8%, according to a survey of 10 analysts done by Reuters News Service. The feedlot inventory was the largest in four years, but at 10.772 million head, it was just 2,000 head above a year earlier and was 3,000 below the average of trade estimates. 

USDA pegged February feedlot placements at 99.1% of a year earlier, versus pre-report estimates averaging 98.9% in a range from 94.0%-103.5%. February placements in actual numbers were 1.694 head, 3,000 above the average of trade estimates and 16,000 below a year earlier. February placements were still 84,000 head above the five-year average for the month. 

Friday’s report put February feedlot marketings at 103.6% of a year earlier, compared with trade expectations averaging 103.3% in a range from 102.5%-104.0%. Marketings were the largest in five years for the month. In actual numbers, February feedlot marketings were 1.648 million head, 5,000 above the average of trade estimates and 57,000 above a year earlier.