U.S. Feedlots Seen Placing 4.6% Fewer Cattle in December: Survey

U.S. feedlots probably purchased or placed into their herds 4.6 percent fewer cattle last month than a year earlier, a Bloomberg survey showed.

About 1.466 million young animals were moved into feedlots in December, according to the average of nine estimates. That compares with 1.537 million in December 2014. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington is scheduled to release inventory figures at 3 p.m. Friday.

The total feedlot herd on Jan. 1 probably fell 1 percent to

10.52 million head from a year earlier, according to the survey. Producers sold about 1.684 million fattened cattle to slaughterhouses in December, up 1.7 percent from a year earlier, the analysts said.

Feedlot operators typically buy year-old cattle called feeders that weigh about 500 pounds (227 kilograms) to 800 pounds. The animals are fattened on corn until they are 1,300 pounds, then sold to meatpackers.

     (Numbers are percentage change from previous year)
================================================================
Firm                   Cattle on Feed   Placements   Marketings

Allendale                     -1.3         -4.7           3.4
Drake                         -1.4         -6.6           1.6
HedgersEdge.com               -1.0         -2.5           3.3
Linn Group                    -1.1         -5.0           1.2
LMIC                          -1.2         -5.0           1.6
New Frontier Capital Markets  -1.7         -8.9           0.9
North Dakota State            -1.25        -5.9           0.9
Professional Cattle            1.1          2.3           1.2
Texas A&M                     -1.1         -5.5           1.6


Average                       -0.994       -4.644         1.744
Survey Estimate (in mln head) 10.52         1.466         1.684
USDA Year-Earlier Total       10.626        1.537         1.655
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