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Industry At A Glance: Cattle On Feed & Supply Management Trends

Author: Kristy

USDA’s December Cattle on Feed report marked the second-lowest December inventory (10.725 million head) since the series began in 1996. That’s not surprising, given the enduring cowherd inventory pressure during the past decade coupled with slowing rate of feeder cattle imports. Moreover, feedlot inventory pressure could worsen further if beef producers get serious about heifer retention.

Despite all those indicators, stepping back and looking at cattle feeding inventories from a different perspective reveals an industry that manages to continually be resourceful. That is, trend lines regarding in-out-flow through the feed yard remain relatively flat over time. The graph reveals that the feeding sector, even in the face of declining feeder cattle supply, has managed to remain relatively consistent in managing flow over the years.

Clearly, at some point, such ability may become severely hampered. On the other hand, there’s also evidence that feedyards are getting better and better at supply management – they’re working hard to ensure more consistent occupancy and subsequent throughput.

 

monthly cattle on feed inventory

 

Even in the face of declining feeder cattle supply, the U.S. feeding sector has managed to remain relatively consistent in managing flow over the years.

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