USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam provides some key numbers in Friday’s USDA Cattle on Feed Report.

“During September, there were just under 2.2 million head of cattle placed on feed, which was about 3% below a year ago,” said Shagam. “The number of fed cattle marketed during September was about 1.8 million head, which was also about 3% below a year ago. The number of cattle on feed in U.S. feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or greater on October 1st was 11.6 million head, which was about 1% below a year ago.”

Shagam says the nation’s beef cattle herd may be shrinking at a faster pace than some had expected.

“The signals continue to point towards smaller cow numbers,” said Shagam. “Just the fact that it came in three percent lower from the standpoint of a market sentiment will probably have a bullish sentiment on fed cattle. A signal that producers are not retaining female stock with the intention of breeding them in the spring.”

The report said the 11.6 million head of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market was the second highest October 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.07 million steers and steer calves, down 3 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 61 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.49 million head, up 2 percent from 2020.

Other findings from Friday’s report: placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 435,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 360,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 495,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 498,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 275,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 100,000 head.

Lastly, ‘other disappearance’ totaled 58,000 head during September, unchanged from 2020.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Photo courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach