U.S. cattle feedlots sold nearly 1.8 million cattle to slaughterhouses last month, up 4.5 per cent from a year earlier pace and slightly more than expected, analysts said.
The monthly U.S. Agriculture Department feedlot cattle report released Mar. 18 also showed five per cent more cattle in feedlots as of March 1, or 11.394 million head.
While that total was the largest for that date since 2008, it was very close to trade expectations and was not expected to cause much market reaction, analysts said.
“The marketing figure seems to be the most important number in the report,” said Dan Vaught, analyst at Vaught Futures Insights.
The USDA report also showed 1.664 million young cattle entered feedlots for fattening, or 99.4 per cent of a year ago, which was slightly more than the 98.2 per cent the trade expected.
“Even though placements were maybe just a little higher than what people were hoping for, the key point is that placements dipped under last year and they will stay under last year’s levels for at least the next six months,” said Rich Nelson, analyst at Allendale Inc.