Feeders make adjustments to work back to normal


Associated Press

via Dispatch-Argus (IA) - Jun 30, 2020


The feeding sector of the cattle industry has seen a lot of adjustments in response to the coronavirus outbreak. David Anderson, professor and Extension ag economist with Texas A&M University, says those adjustments are ongoing.


“The cattle feeding part of the industry has been in the midst of dramatic adjustments over the last couple of months, just like the rest of the industry,” he said in his In the Cattle Markets column.


The most recent Cattle on Feed report shows the situation trending back more toward what is expected.


“USDA released its June Cattle on Feed report on Friday, June 19 and it showed some more adjustments, but this time back in the direction of normal,” Anderson says.


Placements appear to be stabilizing after months of big declines.


“After two months of 20% or more year-over-year declines in placements, May placements were down about 1.3% from the year before,” Anderson said. “May is typically a larger month for placements due to cattle coming off wheat pasture and other small winter grains.”


The cattle inventory situation heading into the virus outbreak also helped shape the response and how much flexibility the industry has.


“It’s worth remembering the USDA’s Cattle inventory report in January indicated 290,000 fewer cattle on small grain pastures this year, compared to last year,” Anderson says. “Fewer wheat pasture cattle likely contributed to the ability to adjust.”


Feeder cattle sales have also started to bounce back, he says.


Anderson says placement weight trends also show how the industry has been responding to the situation...