USDA Cattle on Feed Report Summary

Jan. 1 Cattle on Feed Up 2%

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

This article was originally posted at 2:06 p.m. CST on Friday, Jan. 24. It was last updated at 2:43 p.m.

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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 Jan. 1, 2020. The inventory was 2% above Jan. 1, 2019, USDA NASS reported on Friday.

The inventory included 7.37 million steers and steer calves, up 1% from the previous year. This group accounted for 62% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.59 million head, up 4% from 2019.

Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.83 million head, 3% above 2019. Net placements were 1.76 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 465,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 455,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 413,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 295,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 95,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.83 million head, 5% above 2018.

Other disappearance totaled 67,000 head during December, 11% below 2018.

DTN ANALYSIS

"Last week taught us all a valuable lesson surrounding the signing of the phase-one trade agreement, and that is the market tends to get ahead of itself, which causes problems later down the road," said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart. "Currently, there are enough bears in the marketplace to outweigh bulls by a landslide, and to some degree, that's fair.

"Placements have been higher on the last four COF reports, which becomes alarming as we look to marketing those feeders later down the road. And the cash cattle market hasn't been over performing the last two weeks. But it would be both negligent and unjust to overlook both the domestic and international demand for beef right now and see the driving demand that's pushing packers to keep the slaughter pace running at an exuberant level.

"Friday's COF report may have a bearish connotation to next week's early trade, and there's no doubt that the key factors to be watching this upcoming spring will be: 1) how feeders are managing their readily available fat cattle supplies; 2) the slaughter pace; 3) and the number of cull bulls and cows that are being bought by packers," Stewart said. "The number of cull bulls and cows that are being bought to process will affect how aggressively packers seek out cash cattle and, ultimately, feeders' ability to market their fat cattle."

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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 Jan. 1

102%

102.2%

101.6-102.5%

Placed in December

103%

103.2%

100.5-105.3%

Marketed in December

105%

105.2% 103.9-105.8%

(AG)