Cattle On Feed

Ron Plain
University of Missouri
June 20, 2014

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The June cattle on feed report contained no surprises. USDA said the number of cattle on feed in large feedlots at the start of June was down 1.6% compared to June 2013. The pre-release trade forecast was for the on-feed number to be down 1.5%. This is the twenty-second consecutive month that the number of cattle on feed has been below the year-ago level. The June on-feed number is the lowest for any June since 2010.

May placements of cattle into large feed yards (over 1,000 head capacity) were 7.0% lower than in May 2013. The 1.912 million head placed was the fewest for May since 2011. The average of pre-release trade forecasts was for May placements to be down 7.4%.

USDA said marketings of fed cattle from large feed yards during May totaled 1.865 million head, down 4.3% compared to May 2013, and tied for the lowest May since USDA began this data series in 1996. The trade predicted May marketings would be down 4.3%. May steer and heifer slaughter was down 4.9% compared to a year ago. There was one fewer marketing day in May 2014 than a year earlier.

The calculated average weight of cattle placed on feed during May was down 1.2% from May 2013. The number of cattle placed on feed weighing less than 600 pounds was up 10.1% from the previous May. Placements of feeders weighing 600 to 700 pounds were down 6.5%; placements weighing 700 to 800 pounds were down 14.1%, and placements weighing more than 800 pounds were down 10.7% compared to a year earlier.

The average price of choice beef in grocery stores during May was a record $5.913 per pound. That was up 4.2 cents from the record set the month before and 68.7 cents higher than in May 2013. The average retail price for all fresh beef in May was $5.45 per pound, down 3.2 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 May 1 11,110 10,760 10,648 99.0%
Placed during May 2,084 2,055 1,912 93.0%
Marketed during May 2,017 1,948 1,865 95.7%
Other Disappearance 100 100 101 101.0%
On Feed June 1 11,077 10,767 10,594 98.4%

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