Heading into the new week, the primary focus is likely reaction to Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report for feedlots with 1,000 head or more capacity.
On the surface, it confirms the severity and duration of the current drought, with March placements about 8% more than expected, following surging placements the previous month. Beneath the surface, though, there likely will be some head scratching about how they square with USDA numbers at the beginning of the year suggesting the feeder supply outside of feedlots was 676,000 head fewer (-2.6%) than last year.
March placements of 1.99 million head were 8,000 less year over year — fractionally less — which was about 8% more than expectations ahead of the report.
In terms of placement weights, 35% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less, 53% weighing 700-899 lbs. and 12% weighing 900 lbs. or more.
Marketings in March of 2.0 million head were 41,000 head fewer (-2.0%) than the previous year, about even with pre-report expectations.
Cattle on feed April 1 of 12.11 million head were 208,000 head more (+1.7%) than the previous year. That’s the most for the date since the data series began in 1996 and slightly more than expectations ahead of the report.