Cattle on Feed report shows slight increase in feedlot numbers

Livestock (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter.)

The latest Cattle on Feed report shows a slight increase in numbers for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head.

The Feb. 23 report, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, showed an inventory of 11.8 million head on Feb. 1, 2024, which was up from 11.75 million head on Feb. 1, 2023.

Glynn Tonsor, a professor in the department of agricultural economics at Kansas State University, said the latest report had major surprises.

“I do think we are still getting signals that nationally the herd is still not expanding,” Tonsor said.

Kansas took a little bit of a dip, Tonsor said, but there are no specific insights into why.

When looking at the annual size group estimates, the cattle and calves on feed for slaughtering market in the U.S. for feedlots with 1,000 or more capacity represented 82.7% of all cattle and calves on feed in the U.S. on Jan. 1, 2024, which was similar to a year’s ago percentage at 82.6%.

Placements in feedlots during January totaled 1.79 million head, which was 7% below 2023. Net placements were 1.71 million head. During January, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 370,000 head, 600 to 699 pounds were 395,000 head, 700 to 799 pounds were 475,000 head, 800 to 899 pounds were 377,000 head, 900 to 999 pounds were 105,000 head, and 1,000 pounds or more were 70,000 head.

The marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.84 million head, which was slightly below 2023.

Tonsor said many people are watching what has happened in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles because of the recent wildfires, which he says is very unfortunate for those producers  Currently he does not expect it to have a large, national impact.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].