Feedyards placed cattle aggressively during November, driving December 1 on-feed inventories to the second-highest level for that date since the current reporting series began in 1996.
November placements totaled just over 2 million head, up 4 percent over those during November 2010, bringing the total December 1 inventory in 1,000-head-plus feedyards to 12.1 million head. Marketings of fed cattle during November totaled 1.77 million, slightly below last November’s total.
Placements weighing 600 pounds or less accounted for 37 percent of the total, with the 600- to 699-pound class accounting for 24 percent, 700- to 799-pound cattle at 18 percent and those weighing more than 800 pounds at 20 percent of the total.
The biggest year-over-year increase also occurred in the under-600-pound category, where November placements were up 21 percent over November 2010. Placements weighing 600 to 699 pounds were down by 18 percent, while those in the 700- to 799-pound category were even with a year ago. Placements of heavier cattle weighing more than 800 pounds were up by 11 percent.
A continuing shortage of winter-grazing opportunities likely helped drive the higher placements of lightweight cattle, as did upward-trending fed-cattle prices and some easing of corn prices during November.
Regionally, the states reporting placements higher than a year ago include Arizona, up 23 percent, Colorado, up 13 percent, Iowa, up 21 percent, Nebraska, up 8 percent and South Dakota, up 13 percent. November placements in Kansas and Texas were steady with those of a year ago.
Texas led the way, however, in placements of lightweight cattle, placing 275,000 cattle weighing less than 600 pounds during November, an increase of 41 percent over last November’s total in that weight class. November placements of cattle in all other weight classes into Texas feedyards declined significantly from a year ago.
Read the full Cattle on Feed report online from USDA.