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US feedlot cattle herd seen expanding to July record

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The average guess for the number of cattle in US feedyards as of July 1 in Urner Barry’s survey was nearly even with a year ago while separate data on the cattle herd overall as of that date are also predicted to be about even with a year ago.

 

The monthly on-feed report and mid-year inventory report are scheduled for release at 13:00 Chicago time (20:00 UK time) on Friday.

 

The July 1 on-feed number is predicted on average to be 11.474m head, down 197,000 head, or 1.7%, from the previous month’s figure of 11.671m but still record high for July dating back to start of the current data series in 1993.

 

The current record for July 1 on feed was set last year at 11.480m head. The five-year average for the on-feed number is 10.836m head.

 

Pasture deterioration

Placements of young cattle into the feedyards in June were predicted on average to be 3.9% above a year ago. The wide range of guesses for placements was from 0.1% to 7.9% over the year-ago figure.

 

Deteriorating pasture and range conditions caused some analysts to predict higher levels of lightweight placements.

 

The average of analysts’ projections for placements last month puts the number at 1.824m head, 9.5% above the five-year average. The placement number in June last year was 1.756m head.

 

Marketings, or those shipped out for slaughter during the month, were predicted on average at 1.1% above a year ago.

 

The average guess for marketings projects a figure of 1.966m head, 2.4% above the five-year average. June had two more weekdays compared with a year ago.

 

Total herd

The semi-annual cattle inventory report is expected to show very little change in the overall herd from a year ago.

 

The 2020 calf crop is predicted to be down 1% from a year ago while beef and dairy replacement heifers are expected to be even and 2.4% higher, respectively.

 

Analysts predict that about 3.2% more heifers are being sent to the feedyards for fattening and slaughter, keeping a cap on the breeding herd.

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