USDA on feed numbers close to expectations

The USDA’s cattle on feed numbers for February came very close to pre-report estimates, showing at least some impact from late month colder than normal conditions and heavy snowfall in parts of the region, along with the relatively high feed costs and lower packer profit margins.

Placement of cattle into U.S. feedlots were down 2% on the year at 1.684 million head, with most of those 700 and 900 pounds, which will be marketed this summer. By weight, placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 335,000 head, the 600 to 699 pound category was 295,000 head, and the 700 to 799 pound category was 465,000 head, while placements for 800 to 899 pounders were 409,000 head, the 900 to 999 pound category was 125,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 1,000 pounds and heavier were 55,000 head.

Marketings fell 2% to 1.732 million head, with some unable to move cattle because of the weather.

The number of cattle on feed on March 1st was up 2% at 12 million head for the second highest inventory on that date since 1996. Texas had the largest U.S. inventory, ahead of Nebraska and Kansas.

Other disappearances, including death loss, were unchanged at 58,000 head.

The numbers could be positive for cattle prices later this year, but that will depend at least partially on continued solid beef demand.

Year to year changes for major categories in Brownfield states:

Iowa: On feed: 630,000 head, down 6% from March 1st, 2020; Placements: 110,000 head, 2% higher than February 2020; Marketings: 98,000 head, 8% less than a year ago

Minnesota: On feed: 115,000 head, down 15% from March 1st, 2020; Placements: 13,000 head, unchanged from February 2020; Marketings: 12,000 head, unchanged from a year ago

Nebraska: On feed: 2.61 million head, up 4% from March 1st, 2020; Placements: 440,000 head, 3% lower than February 2020; Marketings: 430,000 head, 1% more than a year ago

South Dakota: On feed: 245,000 head, up 2% from March 1st, 2020; Placements: 39,000 head, 8% higher than February 2020; Marketings: 36,000 head, 9% more than a year ago

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