The USDA released their October Cattle on Feed Report (.txt), which shows 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 11.6 million head on October 1, 2023, one percent above October 1, 2022. And according to a story from Gary Crawford, the report surprised some in the trade.
USDA livestock analyst, Shayle Shagam, saying cattle producers are still sending more heifers to feedlots instead of holding them for breeding.
The inventory, at 11.6 million head, includes 6.95 million steers and steer calves, up slightly from the previous year. This group accounted for 60 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.64 million head, up 1 percent from 2022.
Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.21 million head, 6 percent above 2022. Net placements were 2.15 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 460,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 355,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 485,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 521,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 290,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 95,000 head.
Marketing’s of fed cattle during September totaled 1.66 million head, 11 percent below 2022.