Market analysts called USDA’s Cattle on Feed report slightly bearish Friday as on feed numbers for March 1 were 3 percent above a year ago. Total cattle on feed was estimated at 11.7 million head compared to 11.4 million in 2011.
Placements of cattle into feedyards was also up 3 percent at 1.714 million head. Cattle marketed in February totaled 1.755 million head, 2 percent below last year’s number.
Analysts held a negative view of the report due to the combination of lighter-than-expected marketings and larger-than-expected placements, which pushed the total on feed number higher. Cattle futures were down ahead of the report, leading analysts to believe additional pressure on futures prices Monday will be limited.
The weight break down of cattle placed last month show a significant trend of heavier cattle going on feed. Cattle weighing more than 800 pounds going to feedyards totaled 510,000 during February, up 24 percent compared to last year, and 14 percent higher than January. Cattle weighing 700 to 800 pounds saw a 5 percent increase in numbers going to feedyards last month compared to 2011.