Cattle on Feed Preview 10/23 13:40
U.S. Cattle Placements Seen Growing in September as Marketings Slow
(Dow Jones) -- The number of young cattle entering U.S. feed yards through
the start of October was predicted to be 1.4% above the same time in 2013,
according to a Wall Street Journal survey for Friday's federal cattle-on-
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to release the report at 3
The estimates from 12 analysts for the total number of cattle entering
feedyards in September was projected to total 2.016 million head,
according to the average of the estimates.
The estimates ranged from 6.9% below to 7% above the same time in 2013,
reflecting the widespread uncertainty about the pace at which feedlot
operators replace cattle marketed for sale in the face of record-high
prices for light-weight animals.
The market for light- and market-weight cattle has surged to the highest
prices in history as the size of the nation's herd remains the smallest in
decades. As producers work to retain cows and heifers on the farm--rather
than sending them to be fattened for slaughter--to breed new calves which
eventually will enter the beef supply chain, feedlots have had to bid more
aggressively to secure enough animals to operate at or near capacity.
The increase is seen as a reflection of extremely light placements of
feeder-cattle the same month last year.
"Producers aren't interested in moving cattle, which is starting to show
up in record heavy weights," said Steve Wagner, an analyst with CHS
Hedging in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., explaining that feedyard operators
are growing livestock to larger weights as supplies of available animals
Projections for the total number of cattle on feed as of Oct. 1 ranged
from 2% below to 0.6% above a year earlier, with the average of analyst
estimates down 0.3% from last year, at 10.081 million head. The average of
the estimates for the number of cattle marketed for slaughter last month
was about 1.678 million head, or 0.8% below the same period last year.
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