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:
|(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|