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Cattle placements up sharply in February

Placements of cattle into U.S. feedlots surged in February.

The USDA says February placements were larger than expected, up 10% on the year at 1.793 million head, due to generally better weather in the major U.S. feeding areas than in January and the extra business day due to the Leap Year.

That’s the biggest February placements number since the series of reports began in 1996.

February marketings were 1.89 million head, 3% higher than the previous year, while the total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. on March 1st was 11.838 million head, an increase of 1%.

The numbers look neutral to bearish for cash cattle prices, the futures market, and wholesale business, but that will also depend on beef demand.

Comparisons for Brownfield states:

Iowa: On Feed: 650,000 head, up 2% from March 1st, 2023; Placements: 118,000 head, 18% higher than February 2023; Marketings: 106,000 head, a decrease of 2% on the year

Kansas: On Feed: 2.4 million head, down 2% from March 1st, 2023; Placements: 455,000 head, 7% higher than February 2023; Marketings: 435,000 head, an increase of 7% on the year

Minnesota: On Feed: 105,000 head, up 11% from March 1st, 2023; Placements: 14,000 head, unchanged from February 2023; Marketings: 13,000 head, steady on the year

Nebraska: On Feed: 2.56 million head, up 1% from March 1st, 2023; Placements: 505,000 head, 16% higher than February 2023; Marketings: 480,000 head, an increase of 4% on the year

South Dakota: On Feed: 245,000 head, up 14% from March 1st, 2023; Placements: 42,000 head, 14% higher than February 2023; Marketings: 36,000 head, an increase of 3% on the year

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