Cattle on feed numbers down 3%

On-feed numbers and placements were higher than trade estimates. We have commentary on today's report from Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University ag economist.

Published on: May 17, 2013

The trend of fewer cattle on feed in the U.S. continued last month.

USDA in its monthly cattle on feed report Friday estimated cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market as of May 1 totaled 10.73 million head, down 3 percent from a year ago.

It’s the ninth consecutive month cattle numbers were below year-ago levels, according to the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report.

However, USDA for the second consecutive month reported a significant, albeit expected, jump in the number of cattle placed in feedlots.

USDA estimated April placements totaled 1.75 million head, up 15 percent from the same time last year. This followed a 6 percent increase in March placements.

The increase in feedlot placements last month could be related more to unseasonably cold spring temperatures that limited pasture and forage development. Some of the largest increases in placements in April were in Iowa and Nebraska.