WASHINGTON – Cattle on feed for slaughter registered a slight decline on Jan. 1, 2016, compared to a year ago, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the US Dept. of Agriculture said in its Cattle on Feed report.

Cattle and calves on feed at feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.6 million head on Jan. 1, slightly below totals for Jan. 1, 2015. Inventory included 7.16 million steers and steer calves, up 3 percent from the previous year. NASS said this group accounted for 68 percent of the total inventory.

Meanwhile, heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.41 million head, down 7 percent from a year ago. The agency added that the Jan. 1 inventory of heifers and heifer calves is the lowest percent of total inventory for January since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during December declined 1 percent from 2014 to 1.53 million head. Net placements were 1.45 million head. For December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lbs. were 375,000 head, 600-699 lbs. were 355,000 head, 700-799 lbs. were 355,000 head and 800 lbs. and greater were 440,000 head.