CATTLE PLACEMENTS DROP TO START 2019, BUT INVENTORY STILL HIGHER

Cattle placements in the nation’s largest feedlots slowed in January, but populations remain slightly higher than a year ago.  USDA’s Cattle On Feed report for February indicated that close to 11,678,000 head were on hand to start the month, an increase of 48,000 head.  The significant shift came in placements, which dropped five percent to 1,959,000 head.  Marketings jumped three percent from January 2018 to 1.91 million, resulting in a net decrease for January by 12,000 head.  Heifer population increased six percent to 4.41 million head, making up 38 percent of feedlot populations.