May Cattle on Feed Report

USDA released their monthly Cattle on Feed report this afternoon (May 18).  The report was expected to highlight the dwindling supply of feeder cattle via a much lower April placement number (average pre-report projection of 1.578 million head, a decline of 11.6% compared to last year). The report revealed a much larger decline in placements, down 14.8% versus 2011, which filtered through to a lower than expected on feed number.  The report showed that 11.110 million head of cattle were in feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity  on May 1, 2012, down 0.6% from a year ago.  The pre-report expectation looked for the total to be up 0.3%, but the large decline in placements pushed the on feed number down.  This marks the first year-over-year drop in cattle on feed since May 2010.  Furthermore, the reported decline was equal to the lowest pre-report estimate provided by analysts.  The total number of cattle marketed durring April was 1.807 million head, up 0.4% from last year and more than the predicted 0.4% decline.  Both lower than expected placements and higher than expected marketings led to the big drop in the number of cattle on feed.

Cattle on Feed Report Summary:

Pre-report Estimates:
(1,000 head) % of 2011 Average Range
Placed during Apr 1,521 85.2% 88.4% 82.9% 98.6%
Marketed during Apr 1,815 100.4% 98.6% 96.4% 99.2%
On Feed, May 1 11,110 99.4% 100.3% 99.4% 101.1%

Examining placements by state and weight group show that placements were down across most categories.  Year-over-year placements were even for light placements in Kansas and heavy placements in Texas, while heavy placements in Nebraska were 20% higher.  Nationally, each weight group placement was lower than a year ago.

Weight Group Kansas Nebraska Texas US Total
<600 0.0% -16.7% -31.6% -20.2%
600-699 -8.3% -16.7% -15.8% -19.4%
700-799 -34.6% -10.0% -12.5% -21.6%
800+ -23.1% 20.0% 0.0% -1.7%



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