CATTLE IN FEEDLOTS MUCH HIGHER THAN FORECASTED
USDA reports placements of cattle into feedlots during March were much larger than expected at 1.899 million head. That’s a 6% year to year increase, when, on average, analysts were projecting a 0.9% decline, and due, at least in part, to the low March 2012 placement figure. Estimates ranged from 92.1% to 103.2%. Most of the placements, 1.174 million head, were cattle weighing 700 pounds and heavier. Placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 410,000 head and 600 to 699 pound placements were 315,000 head, while 700 to 799 pound placements were 540,000 pounds and placements of cattle weighing 800 pounds and greater were 634,000 head.
March marketings were below all estimates at 1.771 million head, 8% below last year, with one fewer workday in March 2013 than in March 2012. The average pre-report estimate was for a 6.5% decline. The total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. as of April 1 was 10.9 million head, 8% less than a year ago following months of lower placements and tightening feedlot numbers. Before the report, the average of analysts’ estimates was a 6.1% year to year drop.
Out of the total inventory, 6.91 million head were steers and steer calves, 4% less than last year and 63% of the total, while heifers and heifer calves were 3.93 million head, 8% under the April 1, 2012 total. Other disappearances during March were up 10% on the year at 76,000 head. Allendale’s David Kohli says the numbers look bearish for cattle futures.