January 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 (January 22, 2016). The report revealed that 10.573 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on January 1, 2015. Placements into feedlots during the month of December totaled 1.525 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.674 million head.

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Placements totaled 1.525 million head, a decrease of 0.78% from December 2014 and a 7.64% decrease from the five-year average from 2010 to 2014. Market analyst expected placements to be down 5.1%, so the reported value significantly higher than anticipated. The reported value was nearly 2% higher than even the highest analyst’s estimate. This month’s numbers continue the trend of increasing heavy placements, with cattle larger than 800 pounds seeing a 10% year-over-year increase.

Cattle marketed in December totaled 1.674 million head, up 1.15% versus last year and down 3.52% compared to the average from 2010 to 2014. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 1.9% lower than the same period last year, so they slightly lower than expected, but still well within the range of analysts’ expectations.

The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.573 million head, down 0.50% versus January 1, 2015 and 5.08% lower than the five-year average.  Market analysts expected a 1.2% year-over-year increase in cattle inventories, so the reported value slightly higher than expected but still within the range of analysts’ expectations.