Livestock economist says placements return to more seasonal norm

While placements in the September Cattle on Feed report were well outside the upper end of pre-report expectations, a livestock economist says there’s more to the story.

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says about 2.1 million head were placed in August of 2022. “We also placed about 2.1 million head in September, so we’re flat,” he says. “That’s not traditionally what the seasonality would look like. Normally September is above August and what we got in this report is more reflective of that normal seasonal pattern.”

He tells Brownfield the state breakdowns provide more insight to what lead to the uptick in placements. “Kansas up 60,000 head,” he says. “There you might actually find some calves that maybe we’re trying to move a little bit sooner to feed yards in Kansas just because it’s still pretty dry.” Brown says placements in Nebraska were up 20,000 head. “The combination of imports of feeder cattle, the combination of dry weather that maybe made us shift some calves sooner,” he says. “Just trying to get cows through the winter.”

He says the latest Cattle on Feed report indicated that producers still aren’t ready to grow the herd. “Still 40% of on-feed inventory are heifers,” he says.

The total number of Cattle on Feed was 100.6, slightly above pre-report expectations.

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