Cattle Rise to Six-Month High; Feeders Advance to Record

Cattle rose to a six-month high and feeder cattle climbed to a record after a report showed feedlots added the fewest animals to herds for the month of August since the current method of tracking the data began in 1996.

So-called placements tumbled 11 percent to 1.788 million head of cattle from a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture figures showed after the close of regular trading on Sept. 20. The number of animals added to the feedlot herd also fell in May, June and July.

The report “suggests we’re going to have very tight supply of fed cattle this year and in early 2014,” Dan Vaught, an economist at Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview.

Cattle futures for December delivery climbed 0.6 percent to settle at $1.305 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached $1.30775, the highest for the most-active contract since March 5.

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

Feeder-cattle futures for November settlement climbed 1 percent to $1.62375 a pound, after reaching a record $1.626. The most-active contract has climbed 5.3 percent this year.

Hog futures for December settlement gained 0.4 percent to 86.425 cents a pound, the first increase in three sessions.

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