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Record large cattle placements in December

The USDA says there were more cattle placed into U.S. feed lots in December 2021 than any other December on record. The total of 1.963 million head was 6% above the previous year, with most of those cattle weighing less than 600 pounds, heading to market late this spring into summer. Those increased placements are linked to heavier marketings last year, poor forage conditions, and high hay prices in some of the major feeding areas.

By weight, placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 510,000 head, placements of cattle weighing 600 to 699 pounds were 470,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 700 to 799 pounds were 450,000 head, while 800 to 899 pound placements were 333,000 head, 900 to 999 pound placements were 105,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 1,000 pounds and heavier were 95,000 head.

December marketings were 1.857 million head, the second highest for the month since the series of reports started, and up slightly on the year.

The total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. on January 1st was 12.037 million head, 1% above a year ago, and the second highest total inventory on record to start the year. That included 7.362 million steers and steer calves, down 1%, and 4.675 million heifers and heifer calves, up 2%.

The USDA’s biannual cattle inventory numbers are out January 31st.

Comparisons for Brownfield states:

Iowa: On feed: 600,000 head, down 10,000 from January 1st, 2021; Placements: 87,000 head, 6,000 lower than December 2020; Marketings: 94,000 head, 3,000 more than last year

Kansas: On feed: 2.49 million head, down 10,000 from January 1st, 2021; Placements: 450,000 head, 10,000 higher than December 2020; Marketings: 430,000 head, 5,000 more than last year

Minnesota: On feed: 100,000 head, down 15,000 from January 1st, 2021; Placements: 11,000 head, 2,000 higher than December 2020; Marketings: 15,000 head, 3,000 less than last year

Nebraska: On feed: 2.6 million head, up 50,000 from January 1st, 2021; Placements: 505,000 head, 25,000 higher than December 2020; Marketings: 475,000 head, 25,000 less than last year

South Dakota: On feed: 230,000 head, down 15,000 from January 1st, 2021; Placements: 43,000 head, 3,000 higher than December 2020; Marketings: 45,000 head, 2,000 less than last year

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