Cattle marketings drop in May
The USDA says cattle marketings dropped in May as a number of plants scaled back processing schedules because of COVID-19 infections. May 2020 marketings were 28% below May 2019 at 1.500 million head, the lowest for the month since the series of reports started in 1996. While some plants are fully back online, others continue to operate with reduced schedules, and later this summer into winter, the marketing numbers will also reflect the historically placements during March and April.
Placements during May were 1% less than last year at 2.037 million head, the fifth month in a row with a decline, mainly on cattle weighing less than 600 pounds to about 900 pounds. By weight, placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 375,000 head and 600 to 699 pound placements were 305,000 head, while 700 to 799 pound placements were 485,000 head, 800 to 899 pound placements were 532,000 head, 900 to 999 pound placements were 235,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing more than 1,000 pounds were 105,000 head.
The total number of cattle on feed on June 1st was 11.671 million head, slightly lower than last year, but still the second highest on record for the time period, leaving the supply outlook for the industry mostly bearish.
“Other” disappearances during May were 66,000 head, 8% under than a year ago.