by Ken Root and Whitney Flach
According to the the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report, the number of cattle and calves on feed was up 1% over July 1, 2015. Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel, says the report came in friendlier than expected.
The inventory included 6.87 million steers and steer calves, down 1% from the previous year. This group accounted for 66% of the total inventory. Heifers, and heifer calves accounted for 3.49 million head, up 5% from 2015. Placements in feedlots during June totaled 1.53 million head, 3 % above 2015. Net placements were 1.46 million head.
After the release of the report , Radio Oklahoma Network’s Ron Hays, caught up with Peel at the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Convention in Norman on Saturday (Darrell Peel full interview). Peel says, feedlot inventories are slowly but surely building, but it’s taking some time because of the increased rate of turnover.
“This continues the trend of year-over-year increases in placements, and that’s going to continue for many more months,” he says. “But at the same time, because we have really got these feedlots much more current and we’re continuing to get them current, we’re in pretty good shape to handle those larger numbers as they come at us in the second half of the year.”
Marketing of fed cattle during June totaled 1.91 million head, 9% above 2015. Peel says, the industry has really started to rebound after “a heck of a wreck” last fall when cattle prices plummeted.
“We’ve done a remarkably good job this year, having rebalanced prices and given feedlots an opportunity to look at being able to buy more feeder cattle with at least a possibility of a margin that works,” he says. “We’ve really converted this thing so even though we’re in a larger numbers situation right now, I’m very encouraged that the industry is leaner and meaner right now than it has been for about two or two-and-a-half years.”