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Cattle placements 4% below last year

Placements of cattle into U.S. feedlots have declined for a second consecutive month.

The USDA says 1.704 million head of cattle entered feedlots in December 2023, down 4% from December 2022, implying tighter market ready supplies later this year. Most of those placements were cattle weighing less than 800 pounds.

Marketings during December fell 1% to 1.253 million head, while the total number of U.S. cattle on feed on January 1st was up 2% at 11.93 million head. That on feed total included 7.195 million steers and steer calves and 4.735 million heifers and heifer calves, both 2% above last year.

The numbers look mostly neutral to slightly supportive for cash and futures prices, but that will also depend on demand.

The USDA’s bi-annual Cattle Inventory report is out Wednesday, January 31st at 3 Eastern/2 Central.

Comparisons for Brownfield states

Iowa: On Feed: 630,000 head, up 2% from January 1st, 2023; Placements: 83,000 head, 1% lower than December 2022; Marketings: 92,000 head, unchanged on the year

Kansas: On Feed: 2.48 million head, up 4% from January 1st, 2023; Placements: 395,000 head, 9% lower than December 2022; Marketings: 405,000 head, an increase of 11% on the year

Minnesota: On Feed: 105,000 head, up 11% from January 1st, 2023; Placements: 16,000 head, 23% higher than December 2022; Marketings: 10,000 head, a decrease of 17% on the year

Nebraska: On Feed: 2.56 million head, down 2% from January 1st, 2023; Placements: 435,000 head, 7% lower than December 2022; Marketings: 440,000 head, a decrease of 6% on the year

South Dakota: On Feed: 230,000 head, up 10% from January 1st, 2023; Placements: 37,000 head, 9% higher than December 2022; Marketings: 35,000 head, a decrease of 12% on the year

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