April 23, 2012 USDA Numbers Paint a Nuetral Outlook For Cattle
The USDA cattle-on-feed report on Friday showed a total inventory of cattle on feed showed that as of April 1 there were 11.482 million head of cattle on feed, 2% more than a year ago and in line with pre-report estimates. Feedlot operators placed 1.792 million head on feed during March, 6.4% less than a year ago but 1.3 points higher than pre-report estimates. The higher than expected placements were offset by larger than expected marketings.
The USDA survey pegged the total number of cattle feedlots sold in March at 1.918 million head, 3.6% lower than a year ago but 1.9% points higher than pre-report estimated. The data on cattle marketings again does not fit with the monthly slaughter statistics which were also published on Friday. The monthly livestock survey pegged FI steer and heifer slaughter at 2.142 million head, 7.4% lower than March 2011. Cow slaughter in March was 522,000 head, 4.2% lower than a year ago.