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Feedlot inventory rises 2% above year ago

Placements once again come in higher than what trade had expected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the latest “Cattle on Feed” report Thursday, which showed that the inventory for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more on April 1, 2019, totaled 12.0 million head, a 2.0% increase from the same period last year and the highest April 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The increase was in line with the average pre-report trade estimate for a 1.7% increase.

USDA NASSCattle on Feed April 19.png

The inventory included 7.45 million steers and steer calves, which USDA said was down 1% from the previous year. This group accounted for 62% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.51 million head, up 8% from 2018.

Placements in feedlots during March totaled 2.01 million head, 4.8% above 2018. The trade had expected a 3.4% increase in placements.

Net placements were 1.95 million head. During March, placements totaled 325,000 head for cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lb., 300,000 head for those weighing 600-699 lb., 595,000 head for those weighing 700-799 lb., 539,000 head for those weighing 800-899 lb., 185,000 head for those weighing 900-999 lb. and 70,000 head for those weighing 1,000 lb. and greater.

Marketings of fed cattle during March totaled 1.78 million head, 3.4% below 2018. The average pre-report estimate was in line with this figure, at 3.1%.

Other disappearance totaled 69,000 head during March, 3% above 2018.

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