February Cattle On Feed Report Commentary


This past Friday, USDA released their monthly Cattle on Feed report. The report revealed that 11.073 million head of cattle were in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger. This was a drop of 6.2% from one year ago and 3.9% lower than the average from 2008-2012. The number was exactly what analysts were calling for prior to the report.

Placements during January were at 1.876 million head, up 1.6% from last year and up 1.9% versus the five year average. Analysts were expecting placements to be 0.3% higher than a year ago, so the reported number was above expectations. Looking at placements more closely show that the bump stems largely from heavier cattle being sent into feedlots. In fact, Texas is the only state see a year-over-year increase in lightweight placements along with a decrease in  heavy weight placements.

Offsetting the higher than expected number of cattle entering feedlots was a larger than expected increase in the number of cattle marketed. Marketings were up 5.6% compared to last year, at 1.917 million head, and 7.0% above the five year average. The pre-report average was looking for marketings to increase 4.7% versus last year. This held the number on feed in-check with expectations.

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Summary of the February Cattle on Feed Report:

Pre-report Estimates:
(1,000 head) vs. 2011 vs. 5-Yr Avg Average Range
Placed in Jan 1,876 1.6% 1.9% 0.3% -2.5% 4.0%
Marketed in Jan 1,917 5.6% 7.0% 4.7% 3.2% 6.6%
On Feed, Feb 1 11,073 -6.2% -3.9% -6.2% -6.7% -5.7%

Placements by weight and state:

AZ CA CO ID IA KS NE
< 600 lbs. N/A N/A 0.0% N/A N/A 0.0% 0.0%
600-699 lbs. N/A N/A -10.0% N/A N/A -5.0% -13.6%
700-799 lbs. N/A N/A 0.0% N/A N/A -3.2% 33.3%
800+ lbs. N/A N/A 10.0% N/A N/A 35.3% 14.3%
TOTAL 7.1% 0.0% 0.0% -21.3% -2.9% 4.9% 10.5%
OK SD TX WA Other [1] U.S.
< 600 lbs. N/A N/A 16.7% N/A -18.5% 0.0%
600-699 lbs. N/A N/A -5.9% N/A -5.9% -8.1%
700-799 lbs. N/A N/A -28.6% N/A 5.9% 1.9%
800+ lbs. N/A N/A 0.0% N/A -0.9% 12.1%
TOTAL 0.0% -20.0% -2.5% -17.1% 0.0% 1.6%
[1] Individual weight categories include states that are N/A
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