Big feeder cattle gain value

Cattle feeders like bigger calves, creating opportunities for cow-calf and stocker operators to add weight.

The value of heavy feeder cattle versus lighter feeders has been growing the past couple months for several reasons.

One reason is the desire by feedlots to turn over cattle more quickly, says Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist. He adds that higher value on heavier cattle suggest cow-calf operators may want to retain ownership through the stocker phase to add income.

Peel notes the August USDA Cattle on Feed report shows an August 1 on-feed inventory of 10.165 million head, 101.6% of last year. July marketings were 99.3% of one year ago while placements were 101.6% of last year. With two less business days this year compared to 2015, these numbers suggest a continued brisk pace of both placements and marketings. The desire to increase feedlot turnover means that feedlots continue to demonstrate a preference for heavy feeder cattle. Since placements began increasing in February, placements of feeders over 700 pounds have increased over 11%, year over year, while placements of cattle under 600 pounds are down nearly 6% compared with the same six months last year.

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