The USDA has released new cattle on feed numbers. It is still playing catch up following the partial government shutdown. As of February 1st, the USDA reports feedlot inventories are up just .4% over a year ago. Placements during January were lower, 5% below January of 2018. Marketings were 3% higher than last year. USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam says the weather may have something to do with the numbers, saying "one [reason] is just wet conditions, muddy conditions, poor winter weather, which may be limiting the ability of feedlots to take these cattle".
There appears to be no shortage of cattle. There were 1% more cattle outside feedlots than a year ago, but they may be out grazing on wheat pastures longer than usual. We'll get the February placement numbers on Friday, March 22nd.
You can read the full report here.