Placements in the October Cattle on Feed Report caught most analysts by surprise- as they totaled 2.21 million head in September, 6% above 2022. Net placements were 2.15 million head. The six percent above a year ago was well above the pre report guess average of one percent above a year ago.
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 Oct. 1, 2023. The inventory was 1% above Oct. 1, 2022, USDA NASS reported on Friday. This is the second-highest Oct. 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 6.95 million steers and steer calves, up slightly from the previous year. This group accounted for 60% of the total inventory.
Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.64 million head, up 1% from 2022.
Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.66 million head, 11% below 2022.
|On Feed Oct. 1
|Placed in September
|Marketed in September
Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel says “Big placements which kinda reverses the trends that we had been seeing of year over year decreases in the on feed numbers at least temporarily.”
As to why this six percent increase in placements, Peel sees several reasons- “Drought has to be one of them- so timing has to be part of it where we are pulling some cattle forward- marketing them earlier because of drought conditions. Combine that with such strong prices that we have this year, so with producers who were a little short of feed had no hesitation about going ahead and marketing their calves- and even those that had adequate feed decided to take advantage of current high prices as they felt the current high prices were something they could not pass up- with some cattlemen skeptical about how long current high prices may last.”
As for the marketings number standing at just 89% of a year ago- Dr. Peel says that about half of that decline was because there was one less business day this year than last. He adds “We just don’t have as many cattle as a year ago so slaughter has been done- it’s a tiny bit smaller than expected but the big surprise was the placements. “
Listen to the audio at the top of the story for part one of our conversation with Dr. Peel on the Cattle on Feed- and be watching for part two that we will feature in our Tuesday email and will be posted Tuesday morning in our Beef Buzz section of OklahomaFarmReport.Com.
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