The number of cattle on feed in U.S. feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more on May 1 was down 1 percent year over year at 10.6 million head, down 112,000 head from May 1, 2013, according to USDA National Statistics Service’s latest cattle on feed report, released Friday.
The number of cattle placed into those large feedlots in April was down 5 percent year over year at 1.64 million, a drop of 84,000 head. The number of fed cattle marketed was down 2 percent at 1.78 million, a decline of 37,000 head.
Analysts expected on-feed numbers to be down 0.8 percent, placement numbers to be down 3.2 percent and marketings to be down 2.1 percent.
Lower-than-expected placements numbers gives the report a slightly bullish nature, reports Ron Plain, University of Missouri ag economist.
While cattle on feed are down just slightly, it is the 21st consecutive month of year-over-year inventory declines and the lowest May on-feed number since 2010, he said.
The number of fed cattle marketed was the lowest for any April since the cattle-on-feed series began in 1996, according to USDA-NASS.
While placements in April were lower than a year ago, placements have been very close to the five-year average for three months, suggesting a return to more “normal” supplies of market-ready cattle in late summer and early fall, Steve Meyer and Len Steiner stated in their Dairy Livestock report on Monday.
But placements weights were lower than a year ago, suggesting feeders are dipping deeper into the feeder cattle supply, likely a result of sharply higher placements in February, they stated.
Cattle on feed were up in six of the 12 top cattle states, down in five and steady in one compared with year-ago levels.
The largest declines were seen in Texas, down 110,000 head to 2.43 million; Kansas, down 60,000 head to 2.01 million; California, down 45,000 head to 450,000; and Oklahoma, down 40,000 head to 255,000.
The largest gains in on-feed numbers were in Nebraska, up 90,000 head to 2.49 million and Iowa, up 40,000 head to 660,000.
Placements into feedlots were lower in nine of the 12 reporting states, up in two and steady in two compared with year-ago placements. The largest decline in placements were in Nebraska and Iowa, both down 20,000 head to 420,000 in Nebraska and 69,000 in Iowa; Oklahoma, down 18,000 head to 43,000; Texas, down 15,000 head to 420,000; and Colorado, down 10,000 head to 130,000.
Increased placements were in Washington, up 9,000 head to 35,000, and South Dakota, up 2,000 head to 28,000.
Fed cattle marketed in April were down in six of the top states, up in five states and steady in one.
The largest declines in fed marketings were in Nebraska, down 45,000 head to 415,000; Iowa, down 21,000 head to 76,000; Colorado, down 20,000 head to 130,000; and Idaho, down 10,000 head to 26,000.
The largest increases in fed marketings were in Kansas, up 35,000 head to 385,000, and Texas, up 20,000 head to 480,000.