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US Feedlot Inventory Tightens to Almost 20 Year Low

29 January 2015

US - Feedlot placements in the US plunged below even the lowest expectations at the latest Cattle On Feed report, 8.1 per cent lower than December 2013.

December placements, the third lowest since 1996,  totalled 1.544 million and marketings reached 1.655 million, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS).

Analysts feel the report was "very near the bottom of expectations" Professor Riley

The survey of feedlots with over 1,000 head of cattle of more showed a 6.4 per cent decrease in placements from the five year average. 

Cattle placed in major feeding states (Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado) were, at the very least, not positive for weight categories below 800 pounds, writes Professor John Michael Riley, University of Mississippi.

Texas saw smaller year-over-year placements of 800 pound and heavier cattle, Colorado had even placements for this weight group, while Nebraska and Kansas had more 800 plus weight cattle placed. As a result, the average placement weight (694 pounds) continued the recent trend of being higher versus year ago (691) and five year average (688) levels.

Cattle marketed in December totaled 1.655 million head. This put marketings down 4.7 per cent versus last year and down 5.6 per cent compared to the average from 2009 to 2013. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 4.4 per cent lower than the same period last year.

The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.690 million head, up 0.9 per cent versus January 1, 2014 but 4.8 per cent lower than the five-year average.

Market analyst expected a 1.6 per cent year-over-year increase in cattle inventories, with smallest guess looking for a 0.8 per cent increase, meaning the reported value was very near the bottom end of expectations.

This report also provided a break-out on the types of cattle in feedlots (i.e., steers, heifers, cows/bulls). There were 6.935 million head of steers in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity on January 1, 2015, a 2.3 per cent increase from last year. Heifers totaled 3.671 million head, down 1.6 per cent from one year ago; and cows/bulls totaled 84,000 head, up 5 per cent.

The smaller number of heifers in feedlots will likely add to the story-line of increased heifer retention and growth in the beef herd. More will be known this coming week with the annual Cattle Inventory report.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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