Cattle on Feed Report Preview 09/23 14:40
Sept. 1 Cattle on Feed Numbers Expected to Be Down 2%, but
By Rick Kment
USDA Actual Average Estimate Range
On Feed Sept. 1 98.1% 97.2-98.7%
Placed in August 99.5% 95.0-102.8%
Marketed in August 99.8% 99.4-101.4%
OMAHA (DTN) -- Cattle on feed as of Sept. 1 are expected to be
nearly 2% lower than a year ago, according to a Dow Jones survey
of private analytical firms. USDA will release its monthly
Cattle on Feed report at 2 p.m. CDT on Friday.
On-feed numbers are expected to see the most significant drop
from a year ago, with pre-report estimates showing an average of
98.1% on feed. The overall range of estimates is also generally
tight, giving traders slightly more confidence in the reduction
of overall on-feed numbers. The first impression of these lower
numbers is that they would point to a tighter supply of cattle
in feed yards going into fall and winter. But it is important to
remember that due to COVID-19 disruptions, cattle on feed
numbers on Sept. 1, 2020, were significantly elevated due to
delays in placements and plant closures in the spring and summer
A 98.1% on-feed level would still amount to 11.17 million head
of cattle in the nation's feed yards. Except for 2020's totals,
this still is the highest number of cattle on feed in over a
decade. If report totals are in line with analyst expectations,
this would indicate that seasonal lows have been set during the
month of July, as increased fall placements will continue to
move on-feed numbers higher through the rest of the year.
Feeder cattle placements are estimated at 99.5% of 2020 levels.
This would likely to be considered generally neutral for the
market and slightly above pre-pandemic 2019 placement levels. If
Friday's report deviates significantly from pre-report
estimates, this could be the factor that causes the most
fireworks in the cattle trade early next week. The biggest
uncertainty in the entire report is likely to be cattle
placement levels, with the range of analyst estimates coming in
rather wide (95%-102.8%). This variability not only points to
uncertainty between analysts and industry personnel, but also
takes into account drought situations and larger placements
earlier in the year.
A shift in placement levels in Friday's report is likely the
most significant chance for wild market swings early next week
and confidence that the coming months will follow previous
Cattle marketed in August is estimated at 99.8% of a year ago.
This is likely to be the category least focused on in the report
and likely to be considered neutral to overall price direction
following the report.
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