Market News & Headlines >> USDA Report Shows Low Feedlot Placements, Marketings

The April 1 U.S. feedlot inventory was smaller than many expected after U.S. cattle producers placed fewer cattle on feed than expected during March, according to the monthly USDA Cattle-on-Feed report released on Friday afternoon.

USDA pegged the April 1 feedlot inventory at 11.821 million head or 101.5% of a  year earlier, compared with pre-report trade estimates that averaged 102.1% in a range from 101.0%-103.1%, according to a Reuters News Service survey of 12 livestock analysts.

USDA put March feedlot placements at 1.746 million head or 87.7% of a year earlier, below pre-report estimates that averaged 93.0% in a range from 89.3%-95.9%. March placements were the lowest for the month in four years.

However, March feedlot marketings were also down sharply from 2023, with USDA pegging them at 1.706 million head or only 86.3% of a year earlier, at the low end of trade expectations that averaged 88.1% in a range from 86.0%-91.1%. March marketings were the lowest for the month in nine years.

The slow March marketings indicate supplies of market-ready cattle remained large going into April.