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Some Surprises in USDA’s Latest Cattle Feedlot Numbers

Nature’s obviously continuing to play a very heavy impact on producer decisions.

USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam’s comments. After studying USDA is new and surprising cattle on feed report which showed more cattle that expected being placed into feedlots during September. Fewer marketing’s of fed cattle winding up with a surprisingly large feedlot inventory October 1, 11.6 million head, that would be 1% more than a year ago.

and would be the second highest October 1 inventory number since the series began in 1996.

And as to his comment about the impact of nature, Shagam says large areas of the country are still in drought with forage supplies very short. Also, some serious worry about…

…availability of water in parts of the country in terms of stock tanks and ponds are in parts of the country also very, very low.

Prices for feeder calves very, very high. So off they go to feed lots.

If we look at feeder prices in September, they were running about $255 100 rate compared to a year ago when they were $173 a hundredweight. So feedlots are paying up for those animals and encouraging producers to put them in feedlots, and obviously if you’re concerned about whether you’re going to have poor supply stuff, which are some of these animals that that’s an extra incentive to move them to feedlots as well.

And while placement numbers and feedlot inventory numbers are temporarily high. Shagun says this is just going to mean a continued decline in the size of the cattle herd overall next year perhaps a sharper decline than had been expected.

That is correct that we are probably again digging thoroughly deep into that into that pool of animals outside feedlots, and the fact that we are still looking at very high proportion of heifers on feed would indicate that you know quite a bit of those animals are female stock that went into the into the feedlots.

Of course won’t be held back for breeding. The USDA report says as of October 1, 40% of the feedlot inventory was made up of heifers, Last year it was 39%. Shagam says all of this will likely lead by mid-2024 to smaller cattle supplies, less beef production, higher cattle and beef prices. Gary Crawford reporting for the US Department of Agriculture.