USDA: cattle placements down 8% in February
The USDA’s Cattle on Feed numbers indicate tighter market ready numbers later this year. Placements into feedlots during February 2020 were 1.711 million head, down 8% from February 2019 on seasonal improvements in pasture conditions and concerns about profitability. Most of the cattle that were placed weighed between less than 600 pounds to as much as 900 pounds and will mostly head to market starting this summer. By weight, placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 340,000 head, the 600 to 699 pound category accounted for 315,000 head, and 700 to 799 pound placements were 470,000 head, while 800 to 899 pound placements were 411,000 head, 900 to 999 pound placements were 115,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 1,000 pounds and heavier were 60,000 head.
1.775 million cattle were marketed in February as higher placements from last year were sold, including some at sharply lower prices late in the month. That’s a year to year increase of 5%.
The total number of cattle on feed on March 1st was up slightly on the year at 11.806 million head.
Other disappearances were 58,000 head, down 12% from the previous year.
The numbers were closed to pre-report estimates and look neutral to bullish, especially for deferred months on anticipation of tighter supplies.