Cattle on Feed: Largest Percentage Increase in 11.5 Years

For the first time since 2006 the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cattle on Feed report showed a year-over-year increase of 9%.

The total inventory for 1,000 or more head feedlots was 11.72 million head on March 1, 2018. Last year there were 10.77 million cattle on feed at the same time. With one million more head in feedlots since last year it led to an increase of 9% in the inventory.

The last report to show the same kind of growth was for October 2006. The report 11.5 years ago had similar numbers with 11.38 million head in feedlots on Oct. 1, 2006, an increase of 9% from the previous year’s 10.49 million.

In 2006, there were five non-consecutive months that reported increases of 8% or more. In 2018, the first three months and December 2017 all saw the feedlot inventory increase by 8% or more.

For March 2018, Arizona leads the country in feedlot inventory increases with 18% more cattle reported, followed by California at 17%, Washington at 14%, Iowa at 12%, Texas at 10% and Nebraska at 10%.

The top five states with the highest overall feedlot inventory were:

Nebraska 2,690,000 head
Texas 2,680,000 head
Kansas 2,350,000 head
Colorado 950,000 head
Iowa 730,000 head

In the most recent Cattle on Feed report February feeder placements rose 7% from the same time last year with 1.82 million entering yards.

Placements were led by 700-799 lb. cattle at 537,000 head, followed by 800-899 lb. cattle at 420,000 head.

California had the highest percentage climb in placements at 26% since last year.

Fed cattle marketings for February were up 2% from 2017 at a total of 1.68 million head.

Other disappearance totaled 57,000 head during February, 2% above 2017.

As reported by Reuters, the live cattle futures market fell to a four month low prior to the report’s release.

April live cattle closed 2.100 cents per pound lower at 116.050 cents, and June ended 2.200 cents lower at 106.200.

March feeders ended 1.825 cents per pound lower at 135.700 cents.