Cattle in Nebraska feedlot DarcyMaulsby/iStock/Thinkstock.

USDA reports cattle on feed up 8%

Placements higher than pre-report estimates.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest “Cattle on Feed” report, cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. at feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 11.5 million head on Jan. 1, 2018. This was 8% above the same period last year and in line with the average pre-report estimate.


The inventory included 7.34 million steers and steer calves, up 4% from the previous year. This group also accounted for 64% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.15 million head, up 16% from 2017.

Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.80 million head, just 1% above 2016. Analysts had expected placements to be 3% below last year. Net placements were 1.73 million head.

USDA said December placements of cattle and calves were 470,000 head for those weighing less than 600 lb., 410,000 head for those weighing 600-699 lb., 445,000 head for those weighing 700-799 lb., 279,000 head for those weighing 800-899 lb., 100,000 head for those weighing 900-999 lb. and 95,000 head for those weighing 1,000 lb. or more.

Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.75 million head, 1% below 2016. This was in line with analysts’ expectations.

USDA reported that other disappearance totaled 74,000 head during December, 35% above 2016.

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