The August Cattle on Feed report from USDA, released on Friday, Aug. 19, reflects what many analysts expected – big movement of lightweight calves into feedyards.
Placements into feedyards during July totaled 2.2 million head, up an astounding 22 percent from those during July 2010. July marketings, at 1.9 million head, were equal to the total from last July. Total cattle on feed as of August 1 stood at 10.6 million head, up 8 percent from the same date last year.
Placements in all weight classes during July were up from those of a year earlier, but the biggest increase was in the under-600-pound category, where the increase was 33.6 percent. July 2010 placements in that light-weight category accounted for 29 percent of the total, compared with 23.6 percent a year earlier.
Placements in the 600- to 699-pound category also posted a big increase, up 24.7 percent from last July. Placements in the 700- to 799-pound and over-800-pound categories were up 10 percent and 5.6 percent respectively.
Among the four largest cattle-feeding states, drought-stricken Texas saw the biggest increase in July placements by a large margin, with total placements in the state up 36 percent from those during July 2010.
The report provides further evidence that feeder cattle will be in short supply this fall and winter. While these large placements will have some affect on fed-cattle prices and beef production next year, the impact will not be dramatic. Many of those July placements likely were early weaned calves weighing less than 500 pounds and will be on feed for nine months or longer. Cattle that enter feedyards light tend to finish light, and marketing dates for these light placements likely will be spread over several months .
Read the full report online.