USDA Cattle on Feed Report

March 1 Cattle on Feed Up 2%

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on March 1, 2021. This is the second-highest March 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. (DTN ProphetX chart)

This article was originally posted at 2:04 p.m. CDT on Friday, March 19. It was last updated at 3:20 p.m. on Friday, March 19.

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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 12.0 million head on March 1, 2021. The inventory was 2% above March 1, 2020. This is the second-highest March 1 inventory since the series began in 1996, USDA NASS reported on Friday.

Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.68 million head, 2% below 2020. Net placements were 1.63 million head. During February, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 335,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 295,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 465,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 409,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 125,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 55,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.73 million head, 2% below 2020.

Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during February, unchanged from 2020.

DTN ANALYSIS

"Friday's USDA Cattle on Feed report thankfully didn't show bearish placement numbers, as 1.68 million head were placed in February, which is 2% less than what was placed in 2020," said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart. "But, truthfully, given the tight financials that feedlots are operating under and the winter storm that devastated nearly the entire country in February, I'm surprised that placements were even that high. Sale barns throughout the Southern Plains were shut down for a week -- some even two -- as transportation, power and the sheer amount of snow that needed to be cleared from their facilities was a catastrophic matter. The limited movement of cattle through that time frame made it difficult for feedlots to procure cattle, all of which led to the lighter placements seen in Friday's COF report, as well as fewer marketings.

"Some may be concerned that the total number of cattle and calves on feed is 2% higher than year-ago levels at 12.0 million head, but with beef demand as robust as it is both domestically and internationally, there should be no issue moving those cattle through the system, as demand is calling for swift slaughter speeds, and prices are rewarding to packers.

"The biggest takeaway from Friday's COF report is that a bullish report was successfully secured, and this could help feedlots in the weeks to come, as the live cattle market is desperately awaiting a healthy spring rally."

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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 https://www.nass.usda.gov/….

USDA Actual Average Estimate Range
On Feed March 1 102% 101.4% 100.3-101.9%
Placed in Feb. 98% 97.3% 94.2-103.6%
Marketed in Feb. 98% 97.5% 95.0-105.8%