USDA’s National Agricultural Marketing Service estimated cattle on feed in feedlots with more than 1,000 head capacity at 11.5 million head, 8% higher than last year.
Placements during December totaled 1.8 million head, 1% higher than 2016. Marketings were estimated at 1.75 million head, 1% below last year.
During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 470,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 410,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 445,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 279,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 100,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 95,000 head.
Farm Journal economist and AgriTalk radio host Chip Flory says the current feedlot herd is back to 2012 levels, when severe drought in the Southern Plains forced many producers to liquidate their herds. Watch his report above, on how beef prices continue to create profits for producers even as supplies increase.