Cattle placements plummet for March, ag economist says that could continue
The latest Cattle on Feed report shows cattle placed on feed for March tumbled. University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says this is only the second time placements have been this low. “When got placements in March that came in at 77.3 percent of a year ago,” he says. “Everyone knew that feeder cattle sales were really lagging as producers really got in a wait and see mode as prices moved lower.”
He says the above average grass conditions allowed producers flexibility and they could hold cattle longer if needed. Brown says this likely won’t be the last month for drastically lower cattle placements. “I expect we’re going to find April placements also lagging hard relative to a year ago when we get that report next month,” he says.
He tells Brownfield that changes the current on feed pattern and means we could see tighter supplies later this year.But, he says, that might turn out to be a good thing. “Especially if we get some recovery in the economy and get beyond this peak of the COVID-19 outbreak,” he says.
And one other figure to note, Brown says the percentage of heifers on feed was at 37 percent for the first quarter, which confirms there is still no real growth in beef cow inventory.