April Cattle on Feed Report Recap

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA, NASS) released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (Apr 25). The report revealed that 10.860 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on April 1, 2014. Placements into feedlots during the month of March totaled 1.795 million head while marketings totaled 1.660 million head.

[ … For detailed numbers and charts CLICK HERE … ]

Placements were expected to be larger once again in March, but tempered lower compared to previous month’s expectations (and realizations). The average of analysts’ expectations called for an increase of 1.6% from the March 2013 number and the range of expectations ran from a decrease of 4.7% to an increase of 4.3%. The reported placement number, 1.795 million head, was a decrease of 4.7% from March 2013 and a 3.0% decrease from the five-year average from 2009 to 2013. So, it appears that the January and February push which had placements well above expectations has led to a pull back in March.

Texas, being highly competitive, took the reigns back from Nebraska and led the nation in total placements (470,000 head) and now stands tied with Nebraska in total inventories (2.5 million head).

Cattle marketed in March totaled 1.660 million head, down 3.7% versus last year and down 11.3% compared to the average from 2009 to 2013. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to come in at a 3.5% drop, so the reported value was very much in-line with the average of expectations. Once again, this marks the lowest level of cattle marketed during March since the data began in 1996.

As a result of the lower placements than were expected and the lower marketings, total cattle on feed inventories were not much different than anticipated. The 10.860 million head were 0.6% lower than April 1, 2013 and 2.3% lower than the average from 2009 to 2013. Analyst had expected inventories to be 0.4% higher. Total nventories continue to climb throughout 2014 due to the high level of placements through the first two months. The April report provides some insight on cattle inventories by class. Steers on feed April 1, 2014 were 2.18% higher than last year and 4.22% higher than January 1, 2014. On the other hand, heifers on feed totaled 3.710 million head, 5.93% lower than last year and 0.54% lower than last quarter.

A break down on the numbers can be found at this link: http://goo.gl/1M4YXv