Feed Lot

AUG 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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12 FEED•LOT  August 2017 F eedlots surprised the industry w ith sharply higher than expected June placements. Feeder cattle de- mand has been extremely strong based on very good feedlot prof- itability recently. Placements were up across all regions suggesting that placements were driven by indus- try-wide factors rather than regional factors. However, the Northern Plains drought likely contributed a bit to larger placements, especially the strong placements in South Dakota, up 67 percent year over year. In total, I don't believe that drought was the major reason for the large June placements. Feedlot demand has dipped deeper into feeder supplies and feedlots have placed more light- weight cattle, beginning in May and especially in June where most of the increase in placements was in light- weight feeder cattle. This includes, f or example, a 29.3 percent year o ver year increase in placements under 600 pounds. Placements over 800 pounds were up only 1.5 percent in June. This is important when antici- pating the impacts of larger place- ments the past four months. The lightweight placements in May and June will not be on top of earlier heavy placements. Moreover, placements have clearly pulled cat- tle ahead, meaning that more cattle placed now imply fewer relative placements later. However, overall feeder supplies are larger and will continue to grow into 2018. The July Cattle report indicates a 2017 calf crop of 36.3 million head, up 3.5 percent from 2016. The esti- mated July 1 feeder supply outside feedlots is 37.0 million head. No comparison to last year is possible as the report was canceled in 2016 ( and 2013 as well). The July 1 beef c ow herd was 32.5 million head. When compared to the January beef cow inventory, this inventory level suggests that herd expansion is con- tinuing in 2017. The ratio of the July beef cow inventory to the January level is the highest since 1993, dur- ing the last herd expansion. The to- tal inventory of all cattle and calves for July 1 is estimated at 102.6 mil- lion head. At the same time, herd expan- sion may be slowing down. The ra- tio of July beef replacement heifers to the January estimate is the low- est in the data series, perhaps suggesting that heifer retention is slowing. The quarterly estimate of heifers on feed was up nearly 11 percent from last year, adding additional support to the idea that fewer heifers are being retained as replacements. FL More Cattle In and Outside Feedlots FEEDLOT FOCUS By DERRELL. S. PEEL, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

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