USDA Feb. 1 Cattle on Feed Report

Feb. 1 Cattle on Feed Up Slightly From a Year Ago; January Placements Down 7%

Monthly change in cattle on feed numbers by state from Jan. 1, 2024, to Feb. 1, 2024. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.8 million head on Feb. 1, 2024. The inventory was slightly above Feb. 1, 2023, USDA NASS reported on Feb. 23.

Placements in feedlots during January totaled 1.79 million head, 7% below 2023. Net placements were 1.71 million head. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 370,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 395,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 475,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 377,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 105,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.84 million head, slightly below 2023.

Other disappearance totaled 81,000 head during January, 29% above 2023.

DTN ANALYSIS

"Friday's Cattle on Feed report came out exactly as analysts predicted with total on-feed numbers and marketings being at 100% and placements coming in sharply lower than a year ago," said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart.

"Analysts' estimates ranged anywhere from 81.6% of a year ago to 94% at the higher end -- with an average estimate of 87.3%," Stewart said. "Friday's data came in higher than that average at 93% compared to a year ago -- or 1.79 million head. Everyone knew that January's placement data was going to be lighter than a year ago given how brutal the snowstorms were in January. But I, for one, believed that the placement data would have been lower than just 7%.

"Snowstorms don't just affect feedlots for the duration of the snow, but rather for weeks on end as pen conditions take time to improve. And feedlot managers aren't likely to procure outside feeders when their pens are in utter disarray. There's a chance that the market could react negatively to Friday's data given that placements came in higher than what analysts predicted. Time will tell, but the fundamental outlook of the market remains strong regardless of how the report is viewed."

For more DTN analysis on the Feb. 1 Cattle on Feed report, see the Sort and Cull blog entry "Could Friday's Cattle on Feed Report be Wrong?" by DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart here: https://www.dtnpf.com/… .

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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 Feb. 1 100% 100.1% 99.4-101.1%
Placed in January 93% 87.3% 81.6-94.0%
Marketed in January 100% 99.8% 98.6-100.3%