Lower US Fed Cattle Supply Pushes Market Up

AUSTRALIA - The latest US cattle on feed figures indicate further declines in fed cattle supplies over coming months, with cattle placed into US feedlots during February falling one per cent on the same time last year, to 1.665 million head according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
calendar icon 30 March 2010
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Meat & Livestock Australia

The fall in placements was largely the result of adverse weather conditions in the US during February impacting the movement of feeder cattle into feedlots. Pre-report estimates had placements declining two per cent, reports Meat and Livestock Australia.

Interestingly, the decline in placements has largely been in the US states of Texas (down 15 per cent) and Kansas (down four per cent), while placements increased in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota (up 11 per cent, 18 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively). US analysts recognise that this is an important trend emerging due to northern states having greater access to corn by-product feed and higher moisture grain.

Cattle on feed numbers (as at 1 March 2010) also declined three per cent on the same period last year, to 10.864 million head.

Amid lower fed cattle supplies, average steer carcase weights so far this year have also declined by two per cent. This has pushed beef production volumes below year ago levels. As a result, the five-market steer choice indicator so far this month has averaged 13 per cent higher than the same time last year, at 92.5US¢/lb – the highest seen since September 2008.

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