U.S. Feedlots Added 9.8% More Cattle in Oct. as Feed Costs Slid

U.S. feedlot owners bought 9.8 percent more cattle in October than a year earlier as the cost of corn declined, a government report showed.

Placements into herds totaled 2.394 million head, up from 2.18 million in October 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in Washington. Analysts expected a 7.6 percent increase, according to 16 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The price of corn, the main ingredient in livestock feed, slumped 38 percent this year through yesterday.

The total feedlot herd on Nov. 1 was 10.607 million head, down 5.7 percent from 11.254 million a year earlier, the USDA said. Analysts in the Bloomberg survey expected a 5.8 percent drop. Sales of cattle to slaughterhouses last month totaled 1.856 million head, compared with 1.837 million a year earlier, according to USDA. Analysts projected marketings to climb 0.9 percent.

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

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