May 25, 2020
USDA Cattle on Feed Report
5/22 2:45 PM

By DTN Staff

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted at 2:10 p.m. CDT on Friday, May 22. It was last updated at 2:45 p.m.

OMAHA (DTN) -- Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.2 million head on May 1, 2020, according to the USDA's Cattle on Feed report released Friday.

The inventory was 5% below May 1, 2019.

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.43 million head, 22% below 2019. Placements were the second lowest for April since the series began in 1996. Net placements were 1.36 million head.

During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 295,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 180,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 315,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 392,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 180,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.46 million head, 24% below 2019. April marketings are the lowest since the series began in 1996.

Other disappearance totaled 70,000 head during April, 17% above 2019.


"Analysts pegged the May Cattle on Feed Report almost exactly," said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart. "The industry continues to be pressured by the backlog of fed cattle, which is affecting both placements and marketings.

"When put into perspective, and when one understands the current challenges COVID-19 has put on the cattle processing supply chain, it makes perfect sense why both placements and marketings are down," Stewart said. "The industry could not process and handle the cattle that were ready to be slaughtered over a month ago, leaving producers and feedlot managers little incentive to want to fill their pens with more feeders. And, although slaughter speeds have crept higher, processing less than 600,000 head a week when supplies are at their greatest peak for the year creates immense hardship and great difficulties when trying to market fat cattle."


DTN subscribers can view the full Cattle on Feed reports in the Livestock Archives folder under the Markets menu. The report is also available at….

USDA ActualAverage EstimateRange
On Feed May 1 95.0%95.0%94.1%-95.7%
Placed in April 78.0%77.1%71.8%-86.7%
Marketed in April 76.0%74.7%70.0%-82.7%
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