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Cattle on Feed Report Shows Biggest May First Inventory Since 1996- Drought Pushing Cattle Into Feedlots

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on May 1, 2022. The inventory was 2% above May 1, 2021. This is the highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996, USDA NASS reported on Friday. Oklahoma Farm Report's Ron Hays talked with OSU Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel about the on feed number and the rest of the report right after USDA released the numbers- and Dr. Peel says this report continues to show that cattle are being sent to the feedlots in big numbers- "you know, we have had record large inventories the last several months and we've said before that it means we are pulling cattle ahead and I suspect that it's drought related and we changing the timing- if you look at it- it means we are going to have plenty of feedlot supplies to work through the next several months- we are pulling cattle out of the last quarter of the year to the third quarter of the year at this point. Peel says he still expects the Placement numbers will drop in the near future but cattlemen are putting that event off again another month.


Speaking of placements- placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.81 million head, 1% below 2021. Net placements were 1.76 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 355,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 270,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 415,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 489,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 210,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.89 million head, 2% below 2021.

Other disappearance totaled 54,000 head during April, 2% below 2021.

Simply put- Dr. Peel says this report confirms that drought is impacting the normal flow of cattle from grass to feedlots and "It means that we will have more cattle sooner rather and then later- they (the numbers) will get a lot tighter."

He adds it's really important that marketings stay strong for the next few months- given the large number of placements during the spring months.

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