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US cattle on feed increases slightly

Report shows a notable 12% drop in new placements and a 14% decrease in cattle marketings compared to the previous year

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According to the latest Cattle on Feed report released on April 19, 2024, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the number of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States has increased slightly. As of April 1, 2024, the total reached 11.8 million head in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more, marking a 1% increase from the same date in 2023.

The report detailed that of the total inventory, 7.27 million were steers and steer calves, which have seen a 2% increase from the previous year, now accounting for 61 percent of the total cattle on feed. Heifers and heifer calves comprised 4.56 million head, showing a modest rise of 1% over last year.

However, the data indicated a significant decrease in new placements during March, which fell to 1.75 million head, down 12% from March 2023. The breakdown by weight categories showed that placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 330,000 head, those weighing 600-699 pounds were 260,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 460,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 466,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 170,000 head, and those weighing 1,000 pounds and greater were 60,000 head.

Moreover, the marketings of fed cattle in March were reported at 1.71 million head, reflecting a decrease of 14 percent from the previous year. The report also noted that other disappearances totaled 57,000 head during March, which is 8% above the figure from 2023.

This data provides insights into the current trends in the U.S. cattle industry, revealing a slight increase in cattle inventory alongside significant declines in both placements and marketings. This could suggest shifts in market dynamics or adjustments in feedlot operations.

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