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Cattle marketing hits low in May

Fed cattle marketings in May totaled 1.5 million head, 28% below 2019.

June 23, 2020

2 Min Read

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service released its latest Cattle on Feed report on June 19.

Among the findings:

  • Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on June 1, 2020. The inventory was slightly below June 1, 2019. This is the second highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

  • Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.04 million head, 1% below 2019. Net placements were 1.97 million head. During May, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 375,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 305,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 485,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 532,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 235,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head.

  • Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.50 million head, 28% below 2019. Marketings were the lowest for May since the series began in 1996.

  • Other disappearance totaled 66,000 head during May, 8% below 2019.


The June Cattle on Feed report shows the slow return to something like normal for feedlots, along with the challenges that remain, said Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist. The June 1 on-feed inventory of 11.67 million head was 99.5% of last year. One month ago, the May 1 on-feed inventory was 94.9% of one year ago. The slow pace of May marketings, combined with rebounding placements, pushed the on-feed total up sharply in May.  The June 1 feedlot total includes an estimated 5.18 million head of cattle on feed more than 120 days, up 22.9% year over year.  The backlog of fed cattle will continue to plague feedlots and fed cattle markets for many weeks, Peel said.

May marketings were down 27.5% year over year, a low total even after adjusting for the two less business days for the month compared to last year, he said.  May placements were just 1.3% below one year ago, following April placements down 22% and March placements down 23% year over year. It appears that feedlot placements and marketings will return to more typical seasonal levels from June forward through the second half of the year, Peel said.


A look at charts from the report:

Cattle on Feed Inventory on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots – United States

Cattle Placed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots – United States

Cattle Marketed on 1,000+ Capacity Feedlots – United States



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