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AUDIO: May Cattle On Feed Report

Given the disruptions to the entire supply chain the May cattle on feed report from USDA was highly anticipated. Analysts though were near spot on with their estimates ahead of the report. Leaving little room for surprises.

All cattle and calves on feed in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head on May 1, 2020 totaled 11.2 million head. This puts US cattle on feed inventory down 5% from a year ago.

With a back up of fed cattle and poor margins many expected there to be fewer cattle going into feed yards. They were correct in their thinking. It appears there will be a lot of cattle on grass this summer.

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.43 million head, 22% below 2019. Looking at historical data placements were the second lowest for April since the series began in 1996. Net placements were 1.36 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 295,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 180,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 315,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 392,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 180,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

With packing plants seeing reduced kills or even temporarily closing throughout the month of April into May marketing of fed cattle were expected to be low. During April 1.46 million head of fed cattle were marketed for slaughter or 76% of the number of fed cattle marketed in 2019. That will make April marketings the lowest since cattle on feed series began in 1996.

Other disappearance totaled 70,000 head during April, 17 percent above 2019.


May Cattle on Feed May 2020 % to 2019 Est.
On Feed 11.2 mln hd 95.00% 95.00%
Placed 1.43 mln hd 78.00% 77.10%
Marketed 1.46 mln hd 76.00% 74.70%


Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, has a full audio break down of the report.

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