Cattle on Feed

U.S. Cattle on Feed Up 5 Percent

Dan Cattle, Economy, USDA

Editorial credit: mark reinstein /

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s April Cattle on Feed Report indicates the number of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.9 million head on April 1, 2021. The inventory was 5 percent above April 1, 2020 and is the second highest April 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

The inventory included 7.41 million steers and steer calves, up 5 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 62 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.49 million head, up 7 percent from 2020.

Placements in feedlots during March totaled 2.00 million head, 28 percent above 2020. Net placements were 1.94 million head. During March, placements


of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 405,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 325,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 510,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 522,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 175,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 60,000 head.

Marketing’s of fed cattle during March totaled 2.04 million head, 1 percent above 2020. Marketing’s were the second highest for March since the series began in 1996.

And while April’s report on cattle feedlot activity has large placement and inventory numbers, Gary Crawford reports it was not as large as many analysts expected.

USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam looks at the margin situation for cow/calf operators, feedlots and packers.