USDA Cattle on Feed Report

Oct. 1 Cattle on Feed Up 4%

Oct. 1 Cattle on Feed was reported at 11.7 million head in feedyards 1,000 head or larger. This is 104% above a year ago and slightly above pre-report estimates. Total cattle on feed numbers are now at the highest level since March 1 as seasonal gains continue to develop. (DTN chart)

This article was originally posted at 2:06 p.m. CDT on Friday, Oct. 23. It was last updated at 2:28 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23.


OMAHA (DTN) -- Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on Oct. 1, 2020. The inventory was 4% above Oct. 1, 2019. This is the highest Oct. 1 inventory since the series began in 1996, USDA reported on Friday.

The inventory included 7.31 million steers and steer calves, up 6% from the previous year. This group accounted for 62% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.41 million head, down slightly from 2019.

Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.23 million head, 6% above 2019. Net placements were 2.17 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 445,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 360,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 500,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 517,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 300,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.85 million head, 6% above 2019.

Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during September, 2% below 2019.


"The number of cattle on feed as of Oct. 1, at 11.7 million head, was up 323,000 head from Sept. 1 and up 429,000 head from a year ago," said DTN Analyst Rick Kment. "Current cattle on feed numbers continue to follow seasonal fall trends and are the highest since March 1, 2020. The Oct. 1 on-feed number came in slightly higher than the average pre-report estimate of 103.3% of a year ago."

"Increased placement levels are not uncommon due to the seasonal run of feeder cattle sales moving to feedyards, but the 6% increase over a year ago is well above the average pre-report estimate of 2.5%.

"Both total cattle on feed and placement numbers are likely to spark a bearish tone to the complex once traders return to the market Monday morning."


DTN subscribers can view the full Cattle on Feed reports in the Livestock Archives folder under the Markets menu. The report is also available at….

USDA Actual Average Estimate Range
On Feed Oct. 1 104% 103.3% 102.7-103.9%
Placed in Sept. 106% 102.5% 98.9-106.5%
Marketed in Sept. 106% 105.9% 104.9-106.7%