May 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 (May 20, 2016). The report revealed that 10.783 million head of cattle were in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger on May 1, 2016. Placements into feedlots during the month of April totaled 1.664 million head while marketings during the same month totaled 1.658 million head.

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Placements totaled 1.664 million head, an increase of 7.49% from April 2015 and a 1.50% increase from the five-year average from 2011 to 2015. Market analyst expected placements to be down 1.6%, so the reported value came in well above expectations. The highest analyst estimate was expecting less than a one percent increase, so the reported value was much higher than even the highest expectation. This month’s numbers continue the trend of increasing heavy placements, with cattle larger than 800 pounds seeing an 11.7% year-over-year increase.

Cattle marketed in April totaled 1.658 million head, up 1.16% versus last year and down 6.37% compared to the average from 2011 to 2015. Pre-report expectations called for marketings to be 1.6% higher than the same period last year, so they came in slightly below where analysts anticipated they would be.

The total number of cattle in feedlots with 1,000 head or larger capacity totaled 10.783 million head, up 1.34% versus May 1, 2015 and 0.60% lower than the five-year average.  Market analysts expected a 0.1% year-over-year increase in cattle inventories, so the reported value came in well above expectations and fell above even the highest analysts’ expectations.