Cattle On Feed

US - USDA’s July cattle on feed report contained no major surprises as the numbers came in close to that predicted by the pre-release trade estimates, writes Ron Plain & Glenn Grimes.
calendar icon 30 July 2010
clock icon 3 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

The total number of cattle on feed at the start of July was up 3.3 per cent compared to July 2009, the same as the pre-release survey forecast. The number of cattle on feed has been above the year-earlier level for the last 2 months. The July inventory is the second lowest on-feed number for any July since 2003.

USDA said June placements of cattle into large feed yards (over 1,000 head capacity) were 17.0 per cent above June 2009. The average of pre-release trade forecasts was for June placements to be up 20.3 per cent. The big percent increase was due to very light placements in June 2009. Despite the big increase, June placements were the third lowest in the last 12 years.

USDA said marketings of fed cattle from large feed yards during June totaled 1.997 million head, up 0.4 per cent compared to June 2009. The trade forecast June marketings to be up 1.7 per cent. Marketings from large feed yards also were low relative to June steer and heifer slaughter, which was up 2.1 per cent from a year earlier level. Last month’s marketings were the third lowest of any June since 1997. There was the same number of slaughter days this June as last.

The number of cattle placed on feed weighing more than 600 pounds was 10.4 per cent higher than last year. Placements of feeders weighing less than 600 pounds were up 39.7 per cent compared to a year ago. The calculated average weight of cattle placed on feed during June was 0.9 per cent lower than in June 2009.

Once each quarter, USDA reports data on the mix of steers and heifers on feed. Steers on feed were up 4.4 per cent from July 2009 while heifers on feed were up only 1.3 per cent. The percent of cattle on feed that are heifers declined for the first time since October 2008. This may be an indication that heifer retention is increasing and the reduction in the cow herd is starting to slow.

The average retail price for choice beef during June was $4.491 per pound. That was up 2.8 cents from May and up 21.4 cents from June 2009.

Cattle on Feed, 1000+ Capacity Feedlots, U.S.
  2008 2009 2010 Percent of
  ------- 1,000 head --------- Year Ago
On Feed June 1 10,815 10,407 10,494 100.8 per cent
Placed during June 1,518 1,391 1,628 117.0 per cent
Marketed during June 1,978 1,989 1,997 100.4 per cent
Other Disappearance 60 57 55 96.5 per cent
On Feed July 1 10,295 9,752 10,070 103.3 per cent

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