WASHINGTON – Cattle on feed in feedlots in the United States were down slightly, the US Dept. of Agriculture said in its most recent Cattle on Feed report. Cattle and calves on feed with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.709 million on Feb. 1, down from 10.713 reported for Feb. 1, 2015
Placements in feedlots for January declined 1 percent to 1.78 million head compared to a year ago, USDA said. Net placements were 1.72 million. For the month, placement of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 lbs. were 340,000 head, 600-699 lbs. were 365,000 head, 700-799 lbs. were 494,000 head, and 800 lbs. and greater totaled 580,000 head.
The US beef industry is retaining cows for breeding. USDA data show cattle inventory on Jan. 1 was up 2,845,000 head, or 3.2 percent compared to a year ago indicating the US cattle herd is in the rebuilding phase.
Fed cattle sent to slaughter during January declined 2 percent compared to January 2015. USDA said cattle sent to slaughter are the lowest for January since the series began in 1996. Other disappearance fell 27 percent to 56,000 head for January, USDA reported. Other disappearances — which include death loss, movement from feedlots to pasture and shipments to other feedlots for further feeding — are the lowest for January since 1996.
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter represented 80.3 percent of all cattle and calves on feed on Jan. 1, down 1 percent from 81.6 percent reported on Jan. 1, 2015. For feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head, cattle slaughtered in 2015 represented 87.2 percent of total cattle marketed from all feedlots in the US, a slight declined from 2014, USDA said.