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‘No major surprises’ in feedlot report

Decent pasture conditions likely contributed to decline in placements.

There were no major surprises in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest “Cattle on Feed” report. The inventory in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 11.8 million head on March 1, 2020, only a slight rise from the same period last year and in line with analysts’ expectations.


Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.71 million head, 8% below 2019 and in line with pre-report estimates.

USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam said pasture conditions in many areas have been in better shape than last year, which likely contributed to the decline in placements.

Net placements were 1.65 million head. During February, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lb. were 340,000 head, 600-699 lb. were 315,000 head, 700-799 lb. were 470,000 head, 800-899 lb. were 411,000 head, 900-999 lb. were 115,000 head and 1,000 lb. and greater were 60,000 head.

Steiner Consulting Group noted in the “Daily Livestock Report” that, if subsequent months follow suit, the numbers indicate that the available fat cattle supply could tighten significantly this fall.

USDA did note that there may be an uptick in placements during March.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.78 million head, 5% above 2019. Analysts had expected a 5% rise.

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