US cattle on feed show 1% increase 

(Photo courtesy of Troy Walz.)

The cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.6 million head on Oct. 1, according to the most recent federal government report. 

The inventory was 1% above Oct. 1, 2022, figures, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report noted this was the second highest Oct. 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Texas, Kansas and Nebraska led the head count with 2.85 million, 2.5 million and 2.42 million respectively. Compared to Oct. 1, 2022, that was 4% higher for Texas, 6% higher for Kansas and a 2% decrease for Nebraska. 

The inventory included 6.95 million steers and steer calves, up slightly from the previous year. This group accounted for 60% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.64 million head, also up 1% from 2022. 

Cattle on feed is defined as steers and heifers being fed a ration of grain, silage, hay or protein supplement for slaughter market that are expected to produce a carcass that will grade select or better. It excludes cattle being “backgrounded only” for later sale as feeders or later placement in another feedlot. 

Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.21 million head, 6% above 2022. Net placements were 2.15 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 460,000 head, 600 to 699 pounds were 350,000 head, 700 to 799 pounds were 485,000 head, 800 to 899 pounds were 521,000 head, 900 to 990 pounds were 290,000 head, and 1,000 pounds or higher were 95,000 head. 

Placements are steers and heifers put into a feedlot, fed ration that will produce a carcass that will grade select or better, and are intended for the slaughter market. 

Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.66 million head, or 11% below 2022. Marketings are steers and heifers shipped out of feedlots to a slaughter market. 

Other disappearance totaled 57,000 head during September, which was 8% above 2022. That category includes death loss, movement from feedlots to pasture and shipments to other feedlots for further feeding.