The April cattle on feed report surprisingly showed a larger cattle inventory than expected but was still down on the year. 

The U.S. had 11.6 million head of cattle on feed on April 1, 4% less than a year ago. The greatest decline was to steers, where the count was down 6% at 7.12 million head. 

March placements were higher than expected at 1.99 million head, 99% of a year ago. March marketings were also 99% of last year at 1.98 million head.

More attention is starting to be placed on U.S. beef balance sheets. The U.S. beef supply has been on a steady decline this year and is now 10% under last year’s reserves.

The U.S. may need a larger volume of beef imports this year than the 3.5 billion...