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US feedlot cattle herd seen shrinking below 12m head


The average guess for the number of cattle in the nation’s feedyards as of January 1 in Urner Barry’s monthly survey was 0.5% below a year ago.


The monthly on-feed report is scheduled for release at 14:00 Chicago time (20:00 UK time) on Friday.


The January 1 on-feed number is predicted on average to be 11.898m head, down 138,000 head, or 1.1%, from the previous month’s figure of 12.036m. The five-year average for the on-feed number is 11.263m head.


Placements of young cattle into the feedyards in December were predicted on average to be 2.9% below a year ago. The range of guesses was from 7% under to even with the year-ago figure.


The average of analysts’ projections for placements last month puts the number at 1.775m head, 1.8% above the five-year average. The placement number in December last year was 1.828m head.


Marketings, or those shipped out for slaughter during the month, were predicted on average at 0.6% above a year ago. The average guess for marketings projects a figure of 1.845m head, 4.9% above the five-year average.


December had one more week day compared with a year ago.

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