New Cattle Feedlot Report Points to Shrinking Beef Cattle Herd

New Cattle Feedlot Report Points to Shrinking Beef Cattle Herd

Russell Nemetz
Russell Nemetz
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.6 million head on Oct. 1, 2021. The inventory was 1% below Oct. 1, 2020. This is the second-highest Oct. 1 inventory since the series began in 1996, USDA NASS reported on Friday.

The inventory included 7.07 million steers and steer calves, down 3% from the previous year. This group accounted for 61% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.49 million head, up 2% from 2020.

Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.16 million head, 3% below 2020. Net placements were 2.11 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 435,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 360,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 495,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 498,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 275,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 100,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.79 million head, 3% below 2020.

Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during September, unchanged from 2020.

"The Oct. 1 Cattle on Feed report showed total cattle on feed at 11.55 million head. This is slightly below pre-report estimates, and although it is still the second-highest October on-feed number on record, it is likely to be viewed slightly positive, as traders seemed to be expecting the worst following the bearish market shift seen after the September," said DTN Contributing Analyst Rick Kment.

"Cattle placements during September totaled 1.8 million head, at 97% of year-ago levels. This is a significant decrease from pre-report estimates and is likely to be viewed as bullish to the market early Monday morning. The aggressive market pullback in feeder cattle trade over the last two days seemed to anticipate another bearish placement figure in the on-feed report. Even though placement numbers continue to grow month over month, it is typical that placements continue to increase through the November report, focusing on traditional sales schedules that seem to be regaining momentum following unusual patterns last year due to the pandemic.

"Although the shift in overall cattle levels is not significantly different than expected, the overall positive impact on trade over the next several days is likely to spark increased commercial and noncommercial buying in both live cattle and feeder cattle markets."

Source: DTN

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