This is an unforgettable time in the cattle markets for ranchers and feedyards. The United States Department of Agriculture released its Cattle on Feed report for April 1, and the results are close to expectations and would be considered bullish in a “normal” market.

In the United States, total cattle on feed is down 5 per cent compared to a year ago.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totalled 11.3 million head on April 1, 2020. The inventory was 5 per cent below April 1, 2019. The inventory included 7.08 million steers and steer calves, down 5 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 63 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.22 million head, down 7 percent from 2019.

Placements in feedlots during March totalled 1.56 million head, 23 percent below 2019. Placements were the lowest for March since the series began in 1996. Net placements were 1.50 million head. During March, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 310,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 220,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 410,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 402,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 155,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 60,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during March totalled 2.01 million head, 13 percent above 2019. Marketings were the second highest for March since the series began in 1996.

Other disappearance totalled 61,000 head during March, 12 percent below 2019.

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