Cattle on feed numbers will be released by USDA on Friday afternoon. University of Missouri agricultural economist Ron Plain forecasts placements in feedlots at 103.8% compared to last year, marketings at 89.1% and cattle on feed at 98.8%.
Plain says there are a couple of reasons placements will be higher; for starters corn prices have dropped significantly from the peak in July.
"Much cheaper corn prices in August than we've had in awhile and so up 3.8% in placements," Plain says. "The other thing is placements have been light all during the spring, so we've kind of backed up some feeder cattle on pasture, kept them there longer because corn was up seven bucks for awhile and nobody was eager to move cattle into feedlots."
Plain says the primary reason for the drop in marketings was a decrease in weekdays. This August had five Saturdays and five Sundays, meaning fewer weekdays and fewer cattle killed. Plain says that also daily slaughter was down from last year.
As for the cattle on feed number of 98.8% that is significantly higher than the Aug. 1 figure because of the heavier placements and reduced marketings.