Ron Plain: Cattle On Feed

US - USDA's December cattle on feed report said both November placements and marketings were higher than expected, writes Ron Plain, University of Missouri.
calendar icon 21 December 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

USDA said November placements of cattle into large feed yards (over 1,000 head capacity) were 4.1 per cent higher than in November 2010. The average of pre-release trade forecasts was for November placements to be down 0.4 per cent. November placements were the highest of any November since 2007. Thus far this year, placements have been above year-earlier levels in 7 of the 11 months.

USDA said marketings of fed cattle from large feed yards during November totaled 1.77 million head, down 0.2 per cent compared to November 2010. The trade forecast November marketings to be down 1.5 per cent.

The total number of cattle on feed at the start of December was up 4.0 per cent compared to December 2010. The pre-release survey of forecasts predicted an increase of 3.7 per cent. The number of cattle on feed has been above the year-earlier level for the last 19 months. The December inventory is the highest on-feed number for any December since 2007.

The number of cattle placed on feed weighing less than 600 pounds was up 20.8 per cent from last November. Placements of feeders weighing 600 to 700 pounds were down 15.4 per cent; placements weighing 700 to 800 pounds were up 0.3 per cent, and placements weighing more than 800 pounds were up 10.8 per cent compared to a year earlier. The calculated average weight of cattle placed on feed during November was 4.1% higher than in November 2010.

The average retail price for choice beef during November, $5.001 per pound, was up 6.8 cents from October, up 51.7 cents from November 2010, and record high for the fourth month in a row. Slaughter steer prices averaged $123.50/cwt in November, also a record.

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