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Cattle placed in May outside pre-report expectations

Placements of cattle into U.S. feedlots increased in May.

The USDA says 2.05 million head of U.S. cattle went on feed in May, an increase of 4 percent from last year. Placements are outside the upper end of pre-report estimates. Nationally placements are up about 90,000 head, however, placements in Texas and Nebraska, two of the largest cattle feeding states, are 95,000 head above year-ago levels.  Which would indicate placements in other parts of the country are flat to lower. The larger totals of heavier weight calves placed also suggests slaughter weights could continue to push higher later this year.

May marketings were slightly above last year’s level at 1.96 million head.

All cattle and calves on feed June 1, 2024, was 11.6 million head, slightly below last-year’s inventory.

The numbers are likely negative to prices in the near-term.  However, if other inventory data is correct, the report could suggest a stronger decline in placements later in the year, which could push prices even higher.

Iowa: On Feed: 660,000 head up 2% from June 1st, 2023; Placements: 73,000 head, 3% lower than May 2023; Marketings: 71,000 head, 3% less than last year

Kansas: On Feed: 2.32 million head, down 6% from June 1st, 2023; Placements: 485,000 head, 2% lower than May 2023; Marketings: 455,000 head, 15% unchanged from last year

Minnesota: On Feed: 105,000 head, up 5% from June 1st, 2023; Placements: 9,000 head, 18% lower from May 2023; Marketings: 13,000 head, up 30% from last year

Nebraska: On Feed: 2.48 million head, up 1% from June 1st, 2023; Placements: 495,000 head, 10% higher than May 2023; Marketings: 510,000 head, 2% lower than last year

South Dakota: On Feed: 220,000 head, up 10% from June 1st, 2023; Placements: 24,000 head, 14% lower than May 2023; Marketings: 47,000 head, 12% more than last year

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