Livestock Marketing Information Center

Current Situation and Analysis
Last Updated: 2/6/2017
U.S. CATTLE INVENTORY UP 2% AS OF JANUARY 1

As reported by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the U.S. cattle herd increased for the third consecutive year during 2016, adding 1.6 million head over the course of the year, a 2% gain. The increase was not as big as 2015, when 2.8 million cattle were added to the herd. The big difference between 2015 and 2016 was the accelerated pace of cattle marketings from feedlots during the past year. Year-over-year Federally Inspected steer slaughter increased by 1.2 million head in 2016 and heifer slaughter was up 300,000 head.


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CATTLE FEEDING PROFITABILITY, FINALLY

Cattle sold by feedlots during January were in the black in January for the first time several months. In January, fed steer prices are the highest for any month since June 2016. January’s closeout profit was the largest for any month since the summer of 2014. Estimated closeouts by the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) showed that for the last seven months of 2016 every month had red ink. In fact, only two months since January 2015 were profitable when all economic costs were considered.


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SHEEP AND LAMB INVENTORY DECLINES

As of January 1, 2017, the U.S. inventory of sheep and lamb posted a year-over-year decline of 2%, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Looking as slaughter data from USDA and this report indicates that producers were very cautious in 2016 and lacked optimism to hold onto ewe lambs to become breeding stock. At the forefront were government policy/regulations regarding larger operations to maintain hired shepherds to manage flocks.


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