USDA reports big April cattle placements

The USDA’s latest cattle on feed report shows a lot of cattle were placed into feedlots in April.

Texas A&M University Professor and Extension Economist David Anderson tells Brownfield recent cash cattle business and beef demand both played a role, “Feeders have made some money and packers have made some money in all of this and we’ve continued to pull cattle forward, because we’ve had some really great both domestic and export demand for beef.”

Anderson says the industry won’t fully feel the impact until late summer or early fall, but he’s optimistic, “I think all the indications are that we’ll continue to have very good exports of beef, that’s going to help us out. The big question mark will be our own domestic demand from all of us consumers.”

Anderson says he’s also optimistic about Chinese demand for U.S. beef.

The USDA says placements on feed during April were up 11% on the year at 1.848 million head, marketings were 3% higher at 1.703 million, and the total number of cattle on feed was up 2% to 10.998 million head. Other disappearances were 66,000 head, down 13% from April 2016.

Placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 348,000 head, 600 to 699 pound placements were 255,000 head, and 700 to 799 pound placements were 490,000 head, with 800 to 899 pound placements at 495,000 head, 900 to 999 pound placements at 190,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 1,000 pounds or heavier were 70,000 head.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply lower Friday, pressured by the USDA numbers.

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