Cattle on Feed Report

US Cattle on Feed Up 7%

USDA released its April 1 Cattle on Feed report on Friday. (DTN/The Progressive Farmer file photo by Jim Patrico)

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 April 1, 2018, USDA reported on Friday. The inventory was 7% above April 1, 2017. This is the second highest April 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

The inventory included 7.54 million steers and steer calves, up 4% from the previous year. This group accounted for 64% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.19 million head, up 14% from 2017.

Placements in feedlots during March totaled 1.92 million head, 9% below 2017. Net placements were 1.85 million head. During March, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 315,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 285,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 530,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 531,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 185,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 75,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during March totaled 1.84 million head, 4% below 2017.

Other disappearance totaled 67,000 head during March, 20% above 2017.

Friday's report came in pretty much on target relative to trade expectations, said DTN Livestock Analyst John Harrington.

"Last month's placement was a bit larger than the average guess, but hardly anything to write home about," Harrington said. "Remember that the placement of March 2017 was record large, so even a 9% cutback is still a fairly large feedlot in-movement."

"Clearly, feedlots are locked and loaded in terms of fed beef production potential," Harrington said. "The April 1 buck line represents the second longest to be recorded since the data series began in 1996. But with June and August live futures closing Friday $15-16 below spot April, and $18-19 below spot cash, the big question seems to be how much of this bearish supply news already built into the board."

To view the full report, visit…

USDA Actual Average Guess Range
Cattle on Feed:
On Feed April 1 107.0% 107.40% 106.5-108.1%
Placed in March 91.0% 89.80% 84.8-93.8%
Marketed in March 96.0% 96.00% 95.0-96.3%

John Harrington can be reached at

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