The following article is from Dow Jones:
The number of cattle in U.S. feedlots grew 6 percent last month as strong livestock prices and improved weather conditions prompted managers to buy more young cattle.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Friday in its monthly cattle-on-feed report that 1.897 million head of young cattle, known as feeders, were added to feedlots in January. The number of additions was 4 percent above the same month a year ago and 1.4 percent above the five-year average of 1.871 million.
The report put the number of cattle sold for slaughter last month at 1.777 million head, nearly flat with the same month a year ago but 1.5 percent below the five-year average of 1.803 million head. The USDA said 11.578 million head of cattle were in the feedlots as of Feb. 1.
The USDA report was above expectations in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of 1.886 million head of cattle being added to feedlots last month. The number of cattle sold for slaughter was forecast at 1.787 million head in the same survey.
The number of cattle put into the feedlots, known as placements, has been up for six straight months and 10 of the last 11 months. Much of the increase was attributed to harsh winter weather last year that depressed placements.
This shouldn’t affect cattle futures prices Tuesday to any great degree, said Rich Nelson, market analyst at Allendale Inc. The market continues to focus on tight calf and feeder supplies and great exports of beef, he said.
Both of those factors will tend to underpin prices next week and take the market higher, he said.
The report showed slaughter cattle supplies through the summer will be above last year and therefore will likely be adequate to meet the domestic and export demand for beef. Yet analysts and traders expect the number of placements to decline eventually as the overall U.S. cow herd shrinks and birth rates decline. So far placements have remained strong as young, unbred females, or heifers, are put on feed for eventual slaughter rather than being bred.
Source: Dow Jones
Posted by Haylie Shipp