Cattle in Nebraska feedlot DarcyMaulsby/iStock/Thinkstock.

Feedlot placements a bearish surprise

Cattle on feed up 4% from a year ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s July “Cattle on Feed” report may not have been full of surprises, but it certainly provided one large one: Pre-report estimates had suggested a 6% increase in placements during the month of June, but USDA reported a 16% increase.

USDA NASS

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 10.8 million head on July 1, 2017. The inventory was 4% above the same period last year and in line with analysts’ expectations.

USDA NASS

The inventory included 6.96 million steers and steer calves, up 1% from the previous year. This group accounted for 64% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.86 million head, up 11% from 2016.

Placements totaled 1.77 million head, with net placements at 1.71 million head. During June, placements were 375,000 head for cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lb. , 315,000 head for those weighing 600-699 lb., 430,000 head for 700-799 lb., 385,000 head for 800-899 lb., 170,000 head for 900-999 lb. and 95,000 head for 1,000 lb.-plus.

Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 1.99 million head, 4% above 2016 and fairly close to pre-report estimates.

Other disappearance totaled 56,000 head during June, 8% below 2016.

All cattle on feed up from 2015

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for all feedlots totaled 12.8 million head on July 1, 2017, up 6% from the July 1, 2015, total of 12.1 million head. Cattle on feed in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or more accounted for 84.5% of the total cattle on feed on July 1, 2017. This is down 0.1% from 2015, USDA said.

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