U.S. February cattle placements at 17-year low, pork stocks swell

chicago / reuters / The number of cattle placed in U.S. feedlots in February fell to the lowest for the month in 17 years, a government report showed March 22, a sign that prolonged drought continued to impact the industry.

A separate U.S. Department of Agriculture storage report showed that pork stocks at the end of February were record high for the month, which analysts attributed to a slowdown in pork exports and sluggish domestic demand.

USDA’s monthly cattle-on-feed data showed the number of animals placed in U.S. feedlots in February fell 14 per cent year over year to 1.482 million head. It was the smallest placement figure for the month of February since USDA began the dataset in 1996, analysts said.

The placements surprised analysts and were expected to be bullish for prices.

USDA put the supply of cattle in feedlots on March 1 at 10.857 million head, or 93 per cent of the year earlier.

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