Cattle on Feed Highlights

Last Friday, USDA released the April Cattle on Feed (COF) report. The report showed a slight year-over-year increase in the April 1 on-feed inventory along with more substantial year-over-year increases in March placements and marketings. Key numbers from the report are summarized in Table 1:

Table 1.  Summary of April Cattle on Feed Report





(1,000 head)

Percent of 2015

Placed during March



Marketed during March



On Feed April 1



There weren’t any real fireworks in the on-feed report this month. The headline numbers were basically in line with pre-report estimates. The increases in placements and marketings were largely anticipated and actually mostly reflect the fact that this March included one more business day than last March. Placements were a bit to the low side of the average pre-report, so it’s not too much of a stretch to say the report was slightly bullish, but there were no major shocks in the report.


A.	HeifersB.	SteersPerhaps the most interesting thing in this month’s COF was the quarterly break down of the on-feed inventory by class. That portion of the report showed that of the 10.853 million head of cattle on feed as of the first of April, 7.361 million head were steers and 3.492 million were heifers. That is a 4.5 percent year-over-year increase in the number of heifers on feed; the first annual increase in the on-feed inventory of heifers since July 2012. Figure 1 shows the quarterly heifer and steer inventories for the last two years as well as the 2011-14 average.

To see the complete report, please click here.