U.S. Cattle Placements Slow, May Stoke Beef Prices

January cattle placements were down 2%.

The number of cattle that moved into U.S. feedlots fell for a second straight month in January, a government report shows, signaling a further tightening of beef and cattle supplies due in part to a devastating drought.

USDA’s Cattle on Feed report reports placements fell 2% last month from a year ago, after dropping 6% in December, while supplies in feedlots were up 2%, the smallest increase in more than a year.

Retail beef prices through January have been setting record highs for five successive months. Expectations are for prices to continue higher this spring as Americans gear up for outdoor grilling.

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