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Livestock economist says he’s eyeing the placements number in upcoming report

A livestock economist says there’s one area analysts are keeping a close eye on in this week’s Cattle on Feed report from the USDA.

University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says, “We keep watching placements to see whether what was a little bit of a slowdown in December placement numbers will continue as we look ahead into January.”

He tells Brownfield the report comes out ahead of the USDA’s Cattle Inventory report, which is released later this month. “It’s going to be really interesting to see what beef cow inventory looks like out of the January 1, 2024 numbers that we get at the end of January,” he says. 

The bi-annual report estimates of the number of breeding animals for beef and milk production as well as the number of heifers being held for breeding herd replacement. Estimates of cattle and calves being raised for meat production are also included. The number of calves born during the previous year is also measured.

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