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USDA Reports Highest May 1 Inventory of Cattle on Feed Since '96 - Derrell Peel Shares His Analysis

Tue, 28 May 2019 10:24:59 CDT

USDA Reports Highest May 1 Inventory of Cattle on Feed Since '96 - Derrell Peel Shares His Analysis

Just before the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, the United States Department of Agriculture released its May 1st, 2019 Cattle on Feed report. According to it, cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.8 million head on May 1, 2019. The inventory was 2 percent above May 1, 2018. This is the highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.84 million head, 9 percent above 2018. Net placements were 1.78 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 355,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 250,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 447,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 495,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 210,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 85,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.93 million head, 7 percent above 2018.

“Those number were pretty close to expectations. Actually, the average trade guess for placements were bigger than that,” said Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist Derrell Peel in an interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays after the report’s release. “So, this is within the range, on the friendly side. So, that’s probably the best news in this.”

Peel cites the many severe weather disruptions that have happened lately as one of the largest contributions to the significantly larger placements in April, compared to a year ago. He says it also shows that the herd is continuing to grow here in 2019. He expounded on how the weather has impacted the movement of cattle in his article included in this week’s Cow/Calf Corner, as follows.

“May is the season of severe storms in Oklahoma. The week leading up to Memorial Day included numerous severe storms and several tornadoes in the state with lots of damage and, most regrettably, several injuries and fatalities. A bit more unusual this year is the persistent pattern of wet weather.

“According to the Mesonet, the year so far through May 26 is the fourth wettest year on record in the state with the last thirty days the second wettest for the period. Regionally, the north central and northeast regions of the state are experiencing the wettest 30-day rain totals with the second wettest 30 day totals in the west central and central regions. Several areas have experienced double-digit rain totals in the past week bringing 30-day rain totals to more than 330 percent of normal.

“Widespread flooding is impacting numerous locations around the state. The Arkansas and Cimarron river drainages are particularly hard hit with water levels still rising and more rain expected this week. Keystone Lake, into which the Arkansas and Cimarron rivers flow, is currently reported at 33.53 feet above normal with the flood control pool 112 percent of full. Keystone dam is releasing 275 thousand cubic feet per second of water as flood conditions inevitably move down the Arkansas River. The Arkansas River at Tulsa, just below Keystone Dam, is projected to crest this week at about 23 feet, well above flood stage of 18 feet, and just below the record level of 25.2 feet in 1986.

“Commercial navigation on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) is being disrupted due to high waters. MKARNS provides inland ports that connect directly to the Mississippi river as far inland as the Port of Catoosa, near Tulsa, Oklahoma. The MKARNS is an important transportation artery for agriculture in a multi-state region, providing a market for grain shipments downstream and the arrival of inputs such as fertilizer.

“The May Cattle on Feed report showed April feedlot inventories of 11.8 million, 102.2 percent of last year and the largest May 1 total in the current data series since 1996. April feedlot placements were up 8.7 percent year over year, at the low end of pre-report expectations. Feedlot marketings in April were 6.9 percent higher year over year, equal to expectations. April 2019 had one more business day compared to last year, accounting for some of the year over year increase in marketings and placements.    

“Take time on this Memorial Day to remember those who gave their all to preserve and protect our great nation. Also say a prayer for the safety of those still wearing the military uniforms of the United States of America.”

Listen to Peel break down the numbers in this month’s USDA Cattle on Feed Report with Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Listen to Peel break down the numbers in this month's USDA Cattle on Feed Report on today's show.
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