Cattle placements, marketings down sharply
The USDA says cattle placements into feedlots and marketings fell sharply in April. Placements dropped 22% on the year to 1.432 million head, the second lowest for April since the series of reports started in 1996, as producers held back cattle because of demand uncertainties caused by the spread of COVID-19. Those cattle that were placed into feedlots will mostly be marketed in late summer and early fall and those tighter market ready numbers could support prices, but there could also be a surge of heavier weight placements that were deferred over the past few months.
By weight, placements of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds were 295,000 head, 600 to 699 pound placements were 180,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 700 to 799 pounds were 315,000 head, while 800 to 899 pound placements were 392,000 head, the 900 to 999 pound category accounted for 180,000 head, and placements of cattle weighing 1,000 pounds and heavier were 70,000 head.
Marketings were the lowest for the month on record, declining 24% from April 2019 to 1.459 million head because of slower processing speed caused by viral infections.
The total number of cattle on feed on May 1st was down 5% on the year at 11.2 million head.