Cattle placements below trade expectations

The USDA’s Jan. 23 cattle on feed report was slightly positive for cattle markets as feedlot placements came in lower than expected at 8 percent below last year’s levels, according to DTN livestock market analyst John Harrington.

Placements in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 1.54 million head during December 2014, the USDA said. Net placements were 1.47 million head. Traders had expected placements to be down only 4 percent from year-ago levels.

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market totaled 10.7 million head on Jan. 1, 1 percent above a year earlier, the USDA report said. The inventory included 6.94 million steers and steer calves, up 2 percent from the previous year. This group...

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