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USDA June 1 Cattle on Feed Report
Friday, June 21, 2024 2:57PM CDT

This article was originally published at 2:03 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 21. It was last updated with additional information at 2:57 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 21.


OMAHA (DTN) -- Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.6 million head on June 1, 2024. The inventory was slightly below June 1, 2023, USDA NASS reported on Friday.

Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.05 million head, 4% above 2023. Net placements were 1.98 million head. During May, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 395,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 315,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 485,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 531,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 230,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.96 million head, slightly above 2023.

Other disappearance totaled 62,000 head during May, 16% below 2023.


"It wouldn't be a fun Friday without some discrepancies on the Cattle on Feed report, right?" said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart. "Friday's COF report was expected to be neutral to somewhat supportive given that analysts' pre-report estimates for on-feed totals and placements were both expected to be lighter than a year ago. But low and behold, placements are noted at 2,046,000 head for the month of May, which is 4% higher than a year ago.

"In a normal year, this wouldn't be eyebrow-raising material, as May, September and October are historically the biggest placement months of the calendar year. But given how aggressively calves and feeders were placed early in the year, I question today's placement data. And based on what the USDA National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Summary report has shared for weekly feeder cattle sales nationwide, it's reasonable to be questioning today's report. I went back through all the data for the month of May, and the USDA National Weekly Feeder & Stocker Summary report shared that for the entire month of May, in 2024, there were 885,200 head of feeders/stockers sold. That is 66,600 head less than the total number of feeders/stockers marketed in May of 2023.

"I understand that feeder cattle prices are high, which is motivating some ranchers to market their calves/feeders earlier than they normally do. But given the sale receipts we've seen from sale barns and the sheer fact that there are fewer feeders to be had this year, I struggle to believe that placements were truly up 4% in May.

"If I am wrong, and the data is true, however, that would indicate that in the fall of 2024, feeder cattle supplies should be drastically reduced, as placements in the first half of the year were vast.

"When combing through the data, I think it's also worth noting that there wasn't one single weight group that in May 2024 didn't outpace placements a month ago or compared to a year ago.

"The on-feed and marketing data was less attention-demanding, as both fell closely in line with what analysts estimated. But unfortunately, it's likely that traders will react poorly to this report on Monday, as Friday's placement data throws a curveball into the mix that only time will be able to answer. I don't believe that this report will affect the market fundamentally, however, as the cash cattle complex is trading extremely strong, and feeder cattle are in extreme demand," Stewart said.


DTN subscribers can view the full Cattle on Feed reports in the Livestock Archives folder under the Markets menu. The report is also available at https://www.nass.usda.gov/….

USDA Actual Average Estimate Range
On Feed June 1 100% 99.2% 98.3-100.7%
Placed in May 104% 99.4% 95.0-102.4%
Marketed in May 100% 100.1% 99.3-101.2%

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