Cattle on feed
The USDA’s latest Cattle on Feed report, released March 19, shows the number of animals on feed as of March 1 is 1.6% above year-ago levels. The report provides monthly estimates of the number of cattle being fed for slaughter. For the report, USDA surveys feedlots of 1,000 head or more, as this represents 85% of all fed cattle. Cattle feeders provide data on inventory, placements, marketings, and other disappearances.
March Cattle on Feed Report
This report showed a total inventory of 12 million head in the United States on March 1, up from the same time in 2020 but down from last month. This 1.6% increase is in line with analysts’ expectations of feedlot inventories increasing 1.5% from last year. After strong impacts from the pandemic last spring, the number of cattle on feed has largely followed seasonal patterns, but since August has mostly been running above recent years’ levels, with this Cattle on Feed report continuing that pattern, even with a month-over-month decline. This report marks the second-highest March inventory since the series began in 1996.
As usual, Texas, Kansas and Nebraska led the way in total fed cattle numbers, accounting for over 8 million head, or approximately 67% of the total on-feed inventory in the country. Texas mostly held steady relative to 2020. Kansas and Nebraska posted moderate gains, adding 4% each.