Dr. Derrell Peel Says April Cattle on Feed Report Not Easy to Understand


Oklahoma Farm Report

26 Apr 2021


Mondays, Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, offers his economic analysis of the beef cattle industry. This analysis is a part of the weekly series known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by Dr. Peel and Mark Johnson. Today, Dr. Peel talks about the april Cattle on feed report.


The April USDA Cattle on Feed report requires careful interpretation. The typical year to year comparisons are mostly meaningless because of the pandemic disruptions affecting markets one year ago. Comparisons to 2019 are more helpful to correctly understand the implications of this report. The on-feed total for April 1, 2021 was 11.897 million head, 105.3 percent of last year’s pandemic reduced level. The total is 0.5 percent lower than the 2019 level for the same date.


Feedlot placements in March were 128.3 percent of last year. However, the 1.997 million head total for March was 0.8 percent smaller than the March total for 2019. The March placement total likely did include some increase in placements pushed into March by the February winter storm. Nevertheless, the placement total was not only smaller than pre-report expectations but was somewhat bullish in an absolute sense. March marketings were 2.04 million head, 101.5 percent of one year ago; seemingly small given that there was one additional March business day this year. However, the 2020 March marketing number was unusually large. The 2021 March marketings number is 14.8 percent larger than the 2019 level and was the highest monthly marketing total for any month since May 2019 and the highest March marketing total since 2000.


The current feedlot situation reflects the dynamics of the last year and suggests what to expect the rest of this year...