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USDA Cattle Report Shows Strong Market Prices Support Higher Feedlot Numbers

Derrell PeelOklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s October cattle reports indicate markets have not yet recovered from drought in the southern plains.

Peel reviewed October market trends on an episode of “SUNUP,” the agriculture television show of OSU Agriculture, with the following highlights:

Cattle on feed report

  • Placements were up 106% from 2022.
  • Marketings were 89% of last year’s total.
  • The combination of larger placements and lower marketings resulted in a 1% increase from October 2022, the first monthly increase on a year-over-year basis reported in 2023.
  • Lingering drought and strong market prices support increased placements at feedlots.
  • Feeder cattle were sold earlier than usual to take advantage of high market prices.
  • Feedlot supplies are going to be bigger than expected in the near future.

Quarterly heifer and steer report

  • Heifers on feed were up not only from July but also up slightly from July 2022.
  • Heifers on feed are currently 40% of the total feedlot inventory — the highest feedlot level for heifers since 2001.
  • High levels of heifers on feed and heifer slaughter along with strong levels of beef cow slaughter suggest the beef industry is still liquidating females.
  • Beef cow inventory will be down on Jan. 1, 2024.
  • The beef industry’s tight supply situation has been extended.
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