January Cattle on Feed Report

Will Jordan General

The USDA released the January Cattle on Feed report last Friday, providing a glimpse of cattle numbers to start the new year. There were 11.9 million head of cattle and calves on feed as of January 1. A two percent increase from the same time last year. 7.2 million head were steers and steer calves, accounting for 60 percent of the inventory. Heifers and heifer calves were up 2 percent year over year, accounting for 4.74 million head of the cattle on feed inventory. Though small, this persistent increase in heifer placements likely indicates a continued pause on rebuilding the U.S. cow herd as producers still grapple with the effects of drought. More telling on this will be USDA’s comprehensive cattle inventory report set for release on January 31.

December 2023 feedlot placements totaled 1.7 million head, a 4 percent drop from 2022, trending towards more normal wintertime numbers.

The largest December placement weight class were cattle and calves weighing 600 pounds or less totaling 440,000 head.

Fed cattle marketings totaled 1.73 million head during December, 1 percent lower than December 2022.

USDA’s comprehensive cattle inventory report, set for release on January 31, will provide a further outlook of the industry.