February 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 (February 19, 2016). The report revealed that 10.709 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on February 1, 2016. Placements into feedlots during the month of January totaled 1.779 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.589 million head.

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Placements totaled 1.779 million head, a decrease of 0.56% from January 2015 and a 5.45% decrease from the five-year average from 2011 to 2015. Market analyst expected placements to be down 0.7%, so the reported value very close to expectations. This month’s numbers continue the trend of increasing heavy placements, with cattle larger than 800 pounds seeing a 2.7% year-over-year increase.

Cattle marketed in January totaled 1.589 million head, down 2.22% versus last year and down 10.68% compared to the average from 2011 to 2015. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 2.20% lower than the same period last year, so they were right where analysts anticipated they would be.

The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.709 million head, down 0.04% versus February 1, 2015 and 4.12% lower than the five-year average.  Market analysts expected a 0.2% year-over-year decrease in cattle inventories, so the reported value came in slightly higher than expected but still very close to analysts’ expectations.