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US feedlot cattle herd expands, as placements grow

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The US Department of Agriculture’s monthly on-feed report released on Friday afternoon showed the number of cattle in US feedyards with a capacity of 1,000 or more head as of November 1 at 101.2% of a year ago, very near the average guess of analysts participating in the Urner Barry survey.

 

The placement number for October was 110.2% of a year ago, 2 percentage points below the average guess.

 

The range of the guesses for placements was 3.8% under to 19% over a year ago.

 

Marketings for October were reported at 99.4% of a year ago, just 0.2 percentage point under the average guess of 99.6%. October had the same number of weekdays and Saturdays as it did in 2018.

 

Herd number

USDA reported 11.831m head in the nation’s feedyards as of November 1, up 543,000 head or 4.8% from 11.288m the previous month.

 

That compares with 11.692m a year ago and a five-year average for that date of 11.012m head.

 

The average of analysts’ estimates for the on-feed figure was 11.844m head.

 

Market impact?

Placements for October were 2.477m head, 23.4% over the five-year average of 2.008m.

 

USDA reported marketings, or those sent to slaughter, in October at 1.875m head. The marketing figure was 7.6% above the five-year average of 1.742m.

 

The data were viewed as neutral for futures when trading resumes Monday.

 

The market was sharply lower ahead of this report so a modest bounce back cannot be ruled out.

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