April Cattle on Feed Report

USDA released their monthly Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon (Apr 20).  The report revealed that 11.482 million head of cattle were in feedlots with 1,000+ head capacity.  This was 2.0% above the April 2011 number and equal to the average of the pre-report estimates.  Cattle placed into feedlots were 6.4% below year ago levels.  Placements were expected to be 7.7% lower, but the reported drop was within the range of estimates. Marketings were better than expected at 1.918 million head, which were 3.6% below last year but analyst expected a drop of 5.5% and the best expectation was a drop of 3.7%.  The report should be viewed as neutral given that all numbers were near their expected values.

Placements by weight showed that 600 to 800 pound placements dropped by about 16%, but were bookended by slight increases as placements were up about 3% for cattle below 600 and above 800 pounds.  Placements in Texas and Kansas were dominated by light weight cattle (those under 600 pounds).  These were up 14.8% and 9.1%, respectively.  Placements of cattle over 600 pounds in these two sates were, respectively, down 22.5% and 12.5%.  On-the-other-hand, placements in Nebraska were opposite of Texas and Kansas.  Nebraska placements of cattle under 600 pounds were down 16.7%, while 800+ placements were up 42.9%.

The report is summarized here:

      Pre-report Estimates:
  (1,000 head) % of 2011 Average Range
Placed during Mar 1,792 93.6% 92.3% 88.6% 96.9%
Marketed during Mar 1,918 96.4% 94.5% 93.0% 96.3%
On Feed, Apr 1 11,482 102.0% 102.0% 101.3% 103.1%



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