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Cattle on Feed Report                 04/20 15:00

By John A. Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst

                        USDA Actual  Average Guess      Range
Cattle on Feed:
On Feed April 1           107.0%         107.5%     106.5-108.0%
Placed in March            91.0%          90.0%       85.0-94.0%
Marketed in March          96.0%          96.0%       95.0-96.5%

This report came in pretty much on target relative to trade 
expectations. Last month's placement was a bit larger than the 
average guess, but hardly anything to write home about. Remember 
that the placement of March 2017 was record large, so even a 9% 
cutback is still a fairly large feedlot in-movement.

The inventory included 7.54 million steers and steer calves, up 
4% from the previous year. This group accounted for 64% of the 
total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.19 
million head, up 14% from 2017. The increase in the use of 
heifer feeder cattle is another sign that expansion plans are 

The March marketing total proved to be no surprise. Keep in mind 
that last month contained one fewer business than March 2017. 
That means the daily average marketing in March was about even 
with 2017.

Clearly, feedlots are locked and loaded in terms of fed beef 
production potential. The April 1 buck line represents the 
second longest to be recorded since the data series began in 
1996. But with June and August live futures closing today $15-
$16 below spot April, and $18-$19 below spot cash, the big 
question seems to be how much of this bearish supply news is 
already built into the board.

For more Harrington comments, check out

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