Cattle on feed down two per cent and inventory down three per cent, says USDA

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Cattle and calves on feed in the U.S. for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totalled 11.2 million head as of July 1, 2023.

The inventory number was two per cent below year-over-year, according to this USDA, falling in line with trade expectations.

Anne Wasko of the Gateway Livestock Exchange says this trend of smaller cattle on feed numbers is continuing like we’ve seen all year long.

Marketings of fed cattle during June totalled 1.96 million head, five per cent below 2022, while other disappearances totalled 69,000 head during June, unchanged from 2022.

The mid-year inventory report also came out July 21, giving us an idea of what is around compared to six months ago, a year ago, and so forth.

As of July 1, 2023, there were 95.9 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms. Of the 95.9 million head inventory, all cows and heifers that have calved have totalled 38.8 million. There are 29.4 million beef cows in the U.S. as of the same date, down three per cent year-over-year.

Wasko says this shows that liquidation is continuing in the first half of the year, which is unfortunately not a huge surprise.

“We continue to hear about lots of dry areas still persisting. But I guess the question then we’ll be watching for the second half of this year is can we stabilize? I think that’s a word we need to use going forward for a wee bit here to stabilize capital numbers,” she says.

“I’m not expecting to see growth. So it’s going to be, does the industry continue to liquidate? Or do we find some stability south of the border in the second half of the year?”

Related:

Beef Market Update: What is the blistering heat doing to the cattle markets?

USDA Cattle on Feed report

USDA Cattle Inventory report

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