USDA's monthly audit of feedlot activity showed 12.081 million head of cattle On Feed as of Dec. 1 -- up 4% from year-ago. The slightly higher- than-expected On Feed number was the result of a much-stronger-than-anticipated Placements pace last month. The Marketings pace was also stronger than anticipated.
The weight breakdown of cattle placed into feedlots last month showed: lightweight placements up 20.8%; 6-weight placements down 15.4%; 7-weight placements steady; and heavyweight placements up 10.8% from year-ago.
The aggressive movement of lightweight calves into feedlots isn't a surprise given poor pasture conditions in the Southern Plains. The increase in heavyweight placements last month likely came as animals out of the southern and eastern U.S., where pasture conditions are much better, moved into feedlots.
Cattle futures should open lower Monday based on this data, with the bulk of the pressure on far-deferred futures.
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