USDA March 1 Cattle on Feed Report

March 1 Cattle on Feed Down 4%

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.6 million head on March 1, 2023, according to USDA NASS. (DTN ProphetX chart)

This article was originally published at 2:03 p.m. CDT on Friday, March 17. It was last updated with additional information at 2:34 p.m. CDT on Friday, March 17.


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 11.6 million head on March 1, 2023. The inventory was 4% below March 1, 2022, USDA NASS reported on Friday.

Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.73 million head, 7% below 2022. Net placements were 1.68 million head. During February, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 345,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 315,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 470,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 424,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 130,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 50,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.74 million head, 5% below 2022. Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during February, 2% below 2022.


"After this past week's worth of trade, Friday's Cattle on Feed report is exactly what traders needed to see," said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart. "It's likely that traders will find the report neutral to somewhat bullish as analysts' projections leading up to the report were spot on, but from a fundamental standpoint, one cannot argue the tremendous position this report puts cattle feeders and cow-calf producers in.

"It's not surprising to see Friday's on-feed number come in at 96% when some analysts predicted that the report could be as few as 94.2%. With marketings not as aggressive as they were the previous year, which was largely due to reduced slaughter speeds, there's naturally going to be more cattle on feed than if processing speeds were still operating like they were in 2022.

"What's most interesting and most invigorating and bullish about Friday's COF report is the placement data. Regardless of what weight division you look at (calves under 600 pounds, 600-699 weights, 700-799 weights, 800-899 weights, 900-plus weights), all divisions for cattle placed in February 2023 were lighter than that of February 2022. When one compares the placements of January 2023 to those of February 2023, the only two weight divisions that saw an increase in placements from a month ago were the 800-to-899 weights, and those weighing 900 to 999 pounds. Friday's placement data clearly tells the industry that there are starkly fewer cattle to be had.

"All in all, Friday's COF report will likely be found neutral to somewhat bullish by market participants. The market's fundamentals are extremely clear -- fewer beef cows in the market are contributing fewer calves and feeders to be had by both feedlots and packers. This report could potentially help Monday's market trade slightly higher."


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 March 1 96% 95.3% 94.2-96.2%
Placed in February 93% 93.1% 90.0-96.9%
Marketed in February 95% 95.7% 95.0-96.0%