Cattle on Feed Report suprises analysts with higher placements

NASS & AFBF Market Intel, Michael Nepveux, EconomistFebruary 22, 2021Agriculture News
USDA

WASHINGTON, DC – Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.1 million head on February 1, 2021. The inventory was 1 percent above February 1, 2020. This is the second highest February 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during January totaled 2.02 million head, 3 percent above 2020. Net placements were 1.96 million head. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 410,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 440,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 575,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 417,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 105,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.82 million head, 6 percent below 2020.

Other disappearance totaled 56,000 head during January, 4 percent above 2020.The cattle on feed report surprised analysts with an increase in placements when most had been looking for a decline. The report also revealed increasing numbers of cattle on feed over 120 days, with that number expected to climb for the next few months.

Placements in December totaled 1.842 million head, 1% above 2019 levels but a shock to analysts who had largely been expecting a decline in the number of placements. This placement number is the 2nd largest total for December since the data series started in 1996.

Instead of getting bullish news, the industry got somewhat bearish news from this report for later in the year. Marketings of fed cattle were up around 1%, which was largely in line with expectations. This report also included placements by weights, and for the most part, we saw placements of heavier cattle increase compared to a year ago. The 900 to 1000 pound category was the largest in terms of gains, up nearly 16% compared to a year ago. Animals in categories from 700 to 900 pounds were also up, with lighter weight classes seeing a decline in placements.

Since the September report, we had largely been of the opinion that we had worked our way through the backlog of animals that had accumulated in late spring as a result of the COVID-19 disruptions at slaughter plants. Since September, the number of animals on feed over 120 days had remained above recent levels but followed seasonal patterns until December when we saw a slight divergence. This report saw that December pattern continue somewhat. Cattle on feed more than 120 days clocked in at around 4 million head, the largest we have seen since August of last year. Given the typical seasonality that this category follows, we can expect that number to increase over the next few months.

KANSAS
Kansas feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.52 million cattle on feed on February 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 5% from last year.

Placements during January totaled 480,000 head, up 8% from 2020.

Fed cattle marketings for the month of January totaled 450,000 head, down 1% from last year.

Other disappearance during January totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.

OKLAHOMA
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Oklahoma feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 320 thousand head on February 1, 2021, down 2 percent from a year ago.

Producers placed 40 thousand head in commercial feedlots during January, down 7 percent from a year ago.

Oklahoma commercial feeders marketed 44 thousand head during January, down 4 percent from 2020.

Other disappearance during January totaled 1 thousand head, down 1,000 head from a year ago.

TEXAS
This report contains results from the February 2021 Cattle on Feed Survey collected during the first two weeks of February.

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Texas feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 2.91 million head on February 1, 2021, down 1 percent from a year ago. Producers placed 405 thousand head in commercial feedlots during January, up 9 percent from a year ago. Texas commercial feeders marketed 350 thousand head during January, down 8 percent from 2020.

NORTHERN PLAINS
On February 1, there were 2.58 million head of cattle and calves on feed in the Northern High Plains, 88 percent of the state’s total. The number on feed across the area was down slightly from last year but up 1 percent from the January 1 total.

January placements in the Northern High Plains totaled 362 thousand head, up 6 percent from the December total.

Marketings were down 11 percent from last month at 313 thousand head.

MINNESOTA
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Minnesota for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 115,000 head on February 1, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

This is unchanged from last month but down 20,000 head from last year.

Placements during January totaled 15,000 head, up 6,000 head from December, but down 2,000 head from last year.

Marketings for January were 14,000 head, down 4,000 head from last month and down 2,000 head from last year.

Other disappearance totaled 1,000 head.

IOWA
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 620,000 head on February 1, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

This was up 2% from January, but down 7% from last year. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 565,000 head on feed, up 1% from last month but down 12% from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,185,000 head, up 1% from last month but down 10% from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January totaled 109,000 head, up 17% from December but down 2% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 60,000 head, down 13% from December and down 32% from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 169,000 head, up 4% from December but down 15% from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during January totaled 97,000 head, up 7% from December but down 10% from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 49,000 head, up 9% from December but down 21% from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 146,000 head, up 7% from December but down 14% from last year.

Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 8,000 head.

NEBRASKA
Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.61 million cattle on feed on February 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 5% from last year.

Placements during January totaled 530,000 head, up 4% from 2020.

Fed cattle marketings for the month of January totaled 460,000 head, down 4% from last year.

Other disappearance during January totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.

COLORADO
The number of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Colorado feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or larger was estimated at 1,120,000 head as of February 1, 2021. The latest inventory was up 1 percent from January 1, 2021 and up 3 percent from February 1, 2020.

Cattle feeders with 1,000 head or larger capacity marketed an estimated 180,000 head of fed cattle during January 2021, up 6 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from the January 2020 marketings.

An estimated 195,000 cattle and calves were placed on feed during January 2021, 26 percent above last month, but down 5 percent from the January 2020 placements. Of the number placed in January, 18 percent weighed less than 600 pounds, 23 percent weighed from 600 to 699 pounds, 28 percent weighed from 700 to 799 pounds, 21 percent weighed 800 to 899 pounds, and 10 percent weighed 900 pounds or greater.

Other disappearance for January was estimated at 5,000 head, 25 percent over last month, but no change from last year.