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Cattle placements continue to grow

Cattle placements into feedlots were up in December, the fourth month in a row with an increase. The USDA says placements grew by 3% from December 2018 to 1.828 million head, with most of those cattle weighing less than 800 pounds, continuing the pattern that started in September of last year, and leaving some feedlots at or near capacity. The marketing of those cattle will start as soon as March. By weight, placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 465,000 head, 600 to 699 pound placements were 455,000 head, and 700 to 799 pound placements were 413,000 head, while 800 to 899 pound placements were 295,000 head, 900 to 999 pound placements were 95,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 1,000 pounds and heavier were 105,000 head.

Marketings during December were 5% higher at 1.834 million head, fueling a year to year increase in beef production.

The total number of cattle on feed at the start of 2020 was 2% above the start of 2019 at 11.958 million head, with a 1% increase in steers and steer calves to 7.37 million and a 4% jump in heifers and heifer calves to 4.59 million head.

The USDA’s semi-annual cattle inventory report is out January 31st.

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