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Cattle on feed, placements see uptick in FebruaryCattle on feed, placements see uptick in February

Beef in cold storage down from prior month and last year.

Krissa Welshans 1

March 26, 2018

2 Min Read
Cattle on feed, placements see uptick in February

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released its “Cattle on Feed” and “Cold Storage” reports.

USDA reported that 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 11.7 million head on March 1, 2018, a 9% increase from the same period last year and 1% higher than pre-report estimates.


Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.82 million head, 7% above 2017. The average analyst estimate was for a 4% increase. Net placements were 1.76 million head. During February, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lb. were 325,000 head, 600-699 lb. were 335,000 head, 700-799 lb. were 537,000 head, 800-899 lb. were 420,000 head, 900-999 lb. were 150,000 head and 1,000 lb. and greater were 50,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.68 million head, 2% above 2017 and 1% above pre-report estimates.

Other disappearance during February totaled 57,000 head, 2% above 2017.

Cold storage

Total red meat supplies in freezers were down slightly from the previous month but up 1% from last year, according to the “Cold Storage” report.

Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 8% from the previous month and down 8% from last year. The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) pointed out that this was the lowest amount since 2014.

Frozen pork supplies, on the other hand, were 6% higher than the previous month and 8% higher than last year. However, LMIC said this was the second lowest level since 2011. Stocks of pork bellies were up 6% from last month and 188% higher from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on Feb. 28, 2018, were up 6% from the previous month and up 14% from a year ago. Chicken in cold storage exceeded 900 million lb. for the first time in any month, LMIC reported. Total stocks of chicken were up 3% from the previous month and up 15 % from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were 14% higher than last month and 13% higher than Feb. 28, 2017.

“Red meat, especially beef, continues to move briskly through the marketing chain, but chicken has struggled in that regard,” LMIC stated.

On the dairy product side, USDA reported that total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on Feb. 28, 2018, were up 3% from the previous month and up 7% from Feb. 28, 2017. Butter stocks were up 22% from last month and up 3% from a year ago.

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