August Record Set for Cattle on Feed with 11.1 Million Head Reported

Cattle on Feed reaches nearly 11.1 million head, the highest mark reached for August since USDA began the series in 1996. ( Wyatt Bechtel )

Nearly half a million more cattle were added to feedlots since August last year.

According to the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report, the 4.6% increase in the Aug. 1 inventory resulted in 11,093,000 cattle in feedlots. The 489,000 additional cattle resulted in the highest inventory for August since the 1996 report began.

Despite the year-over-year increase the amount of cattle on feed fell by 194,000 head since July 1, a drop of 1.7%.

Placements for July reached 1.74 million head, a rise of 7.9% compared to the same time in 2017. The most popular class of cattle to be place were 700-799 lb. followed closely by calves weighing less than 600 lb. The placements went as follows:

  • 700-799 lb. = 415,000 head
  • Less than 600 lb. = 410,000 head
  • 800-899 lb. = 367,000 head
  • 600-699 lb. = 290,000 head
  • 900-999 lb. = 175,000 head
  • 1,000 lb. and greater = 85,000 head

Fed cattle marketing for July was up 5% since last year with 1.87 million head going through packers.

State-by-state the largest gains for cattle on feed inventory were seen in the Southwest with Arizona and California both seeing a nearly 22% increase from 2017. The state to see the biggest drop in percentage was South Dakota at approximately 9%.

The top five cattle feedlot inventory states are as follows:

  1. Texas 2,720,000 head
  2. Nebraska 2,330,000 head
  3. Kansas 2,230,000 head
  4. Colorado 890,000 head
  5. Iowa 700,000 head

No states reported a gain in inventory from July to August.