Biggest May First Cattle Inventory Since 1996

Biggest May First Cattle Inventory Since 1996

Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report shows the biggest inventory on May 1 since 1996. Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel outlines the findings in the report.

“The May Cattle on Feed Report showed placements in the month of April, at one percent down from last year, 99 percent of last year. Marketings in April were 98 percent of last year, and that gives us a May one on feed total that’s two percent above last year and it’s an all-time record for May One feedlot inventories in the data series.” 

Peel says this report continues to show that cattle are being sent to the feedlots in big numbers.

“It does, you know, we’ve had record large inventories the last several months and we’ve said before that that means that we’re probably pulling cattle ahead. I suspect some of this, again, is drought related in some sense. So, we’re changing the timing. If you look at it, it means that we’re going to have plenty of feedlot supplies to work through here for the next several months. We’re pulling cattle probably out of the last quarter of the year into the third quarter of the year at this point. We still expect these numbers to come down, these placement numbers, but obviously with the drought impacts and the incentives that are out there, we’re pushing that off as long as possible before we see those placement numbers drop.” 

Speaking of placements—placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.81 million head, one percent below 2021. Net placements were 1.76 million head. Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.89 million head, two percent below 2021.

He adds it’s important that marketings stay strong for the next few months, given the large number of placements during the spring months.

“Typically, we see slaughter rates seasonally kind of at their peak in May and into June. We’ve been moving cattle pretty well. We’ve had pretty good slaughter rates. Carcass weights are still above a year ago, but they’re coming down seasonally. So, there’s no indication that the feedlots are backed up. I think we’re still marketing cattle at a pretty good rate, we’re just going to have lots of cattle to market. It means again that we’re going to have more cattle sooner rather than later, and then at some point later they will get a lot tighter.”