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Higher placements continue but are trending downward.

Krissa Welshans 1

May 25, 2018

1 Min Read
Cattle in Nebraska feedlot
CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS: Expanding beef processing capacity today may be fixing yesterday's problem as cattle cycle turns to lower production. DarcyMaulsby/iStock/Thinkstock.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s released May 25 the latest “Cattle on Feed” report, showing cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 11.6 million head on May 1, 2018, a 5% increase from May 1, 2017, and the second-highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.70 million head, 8% below 2017. David Williams, global protein director for Informa Economics IEG, said the U.S. beef sector hasn't placed a similar number of cattle for this period since 2006.

Net placements were 1.63 million head. During April, placements were 320,000 head for cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lb., 230,000 head for cattle and calves weighing 600-699 lb., 415,000 head for those weighing 700-799 lb., 445,000 head for those weighing 800-899 lb., 205,000 head for those weighing 900-999 lb. and 80,000 head for those weighing 1,000 lb. and greater.

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.80 million head, 6% above 2017.

All of the USDA numbers were in line with analysts' pre-report expectations.

“We’re still placing more cattle, but the trend is that we’re coming down,” Williams said. “Seasonally, we should be placing fewer cattle this time of year, but there are still a lot more cattle than last year.”

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