Cattle On Feed

Ron Plain
University of Missouri
September 19, 2014

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The September cattle on feed report contained no surprises. USDA said the number of cattle on feed in large feedlots at the start of September was down 0.8% compared to September 2013. The pre-release trade forecast was for the on-feed number to be down 1.0%. This is the twenty-fifth consecutive month that the number of cattle on feed has been below the year-ago level. The September on-feed number is the lowest for any September since 1999.

August placements of cattle into large feed yards (over 1,000 head capacity) were 2.9% lower than in August 2013. The 1.72 million head placed was the fewest for any August since USDA began this data series in 1996. The average of pre-release trade forecasts was for August placements to be down 4.0%.

USDA said marketings of fed cattle from large feed yards during August totaled 1.692 million head, down 9.6% compared to August 2013, and the lowest August since USDA began this data series in 1996. The trade predicted August marketings would be down 9.6% which matched August steer and heifer slaughter. There was one fewer marketing day in August 2014 than a year earlier.

The calculated average weight of cattle placed on feed during August was up 1.3% from August 2013. The number of cattle placed on feed weighing less than 600 pounds was up 1.2% from the previous August. Placements of feeders weighing 600 to 700 pounds were down 14.4%; placements weighing 700 to 800 pounds were down 7.0%, and placements weighing more than 800 pounds were up 3.3% compared to a year earlier.

The average price of choice beef in grocery stores during August was a record $6.24 per pound. That was up 28.9 cents from the record set the month before and 88.9 cents higher than in August 2013. The average retail price for all fresh beef in August was $5.807 per pound, up 25.7 cents from the record set the month earlier.

Cattle on Feed, 1000+ Capacity Feedlots, U.S.
2012 2013 2014 Percent of
Year Ago
1,000 head
On Feed August 1 10,656 10,025 9,837 98.1%
Placed during August 2,077 1,772 1,720 97.1%
Marketed during August 1,955 1,871 1,692 90.4%
Other Disappearance 61 50 66 132.0%
On Feed September 1 10,647 9,876 9,799 99.2%

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