Cattle on feed hints at beef production in late 2018
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
The June 1 cattle on feed report showed a feedlot inventory of 11.553 million head of cattle in feedlots of more than 1,000 head capacity. This is the largest June 1 feedlot inventory in the data series that began in 1996. It is the eighteenth straight month of year over year increases and, in fact, feedlot inventories have been increasing year over year for 26 of the last 28 months. Using a twelve month moving average of feedlot inventories (which removes seasonality and allows month to month comparisons of feedlot totals) shows that the current monthly average feedlot inventory is the highest since November 2012.
The on-feed total for June 1 was 104.1 percent of last year. The rapid buildup in feedlot inventories last fall and early 2018 peaked in March compared to last year with a feedlot inventory 108.8 percent of one year earlier. As was noted at the time, early placements fueled by poor winter pasture conditions doesn’t change to overall number of cattle and is offset later with smaller placements. May placements were just fractionally higher than last year and followed two months of year over year decreases. May placements were higher than average analyst expectation but not out of the range of guesses. Longer term, cattle numbers are still increasing and a general trend of growing feedlot inventories is expected for several more months at least. Placement patterns the last few months have impacted the timing of feedlot production and the fed cattle market has been struggling a bit under the weight of bunched fed cattle supplies in the second quarter.
May marketings were 105.4 percent of last year, in line with pre-report expectations. Annualized monthly average feedlot marketings began increasing in late 2015, following the herd expansion that began in 2014. Current twelve month monthly average feedlot marketings are at the highest level since November 2011. Increased feedlot marketings translate into increased cattle slaughter and increased beef production. Increased beef production in the second half of the year will depend on the how much cattle slaughter increases and on how much carcass weights rebound from last year’s decline. At the current time, annual beef production is projected to be up 4.0-4.5 percent year over year.
May feedlot placements included a 9.8 percent year over year increase in placements under 700 pounds, likely augmented by poor summer grazing conditions in some areas that likely deflected some cattle into feedlots. At the same time, placements of cattle over 700 pounds were down 4.6 percent from last year. This suggests that feedlot cattle supplies will tighten relatively in the third quarter. Fed cattle prices are expected to be lower year over year in the second half of the year but the timing of fed cattle marketings will reduce the price pressure relative to the second quarter.
Monitor mineral intake closely during summer
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist
Summer often becomes a busy time of year for ranchers (especially during haying season). Don’t forget to check the mineral feeders or blocks to be certain that they are supplying the minerals that your cows need. In some cases, medications may be recommended by your veterinarian to be included in the mineral mix. Cow-calf operators will want to monitor mineral consumption closely to be certain that the label-recommended amounts are being consumed by the cattle.
A Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) will be necessary for antibiotic feeding in mineral supplements. Contact and work with your local large animal veterinarian about the appropriate VFD for your operation.
Placement of mineral feeders and blocks can aid in achieving optimum mineral intake. Place them in areas where cattle spend a lot of time. Minerals should be placed in loafing areas, near water sources, in shady areas, or any other location that tends be a popular place for the herd to congregate. A rule of thumb is to provide one mineral feeding station for every 30 to 50 cows. Check feeders at least once a week and keep a clean, fresh supply of minerals present at all times. A good feeder should keep minerals dry, be portable and hold up to abuse and corrosion. Open tubs are not adequate in high rainfall areas.
Cattle owners can get receive additional help with calculating mineral intake with the OSU Mineral Calculator and OSU Mineral Consumption Record sheets. To download these aids go to http://beefextension.com/ and click on the appropriate menu items on the right side of the page.
Choosing a mineral mix requires understanding of the animal’s requirements and the minerals available in the forages and feedstuffs available to the animals. Mineral needs tend to be area specific and change with soil type, fertilization rates, rainfall and many other factors. Mineral requirements also will depend on animal age and stage of production. An excellent reference source for Oklahoma beef producers about mineral supplementation can be found in the Oklahoma State University Extension Bulletin E-861 “Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition of Grazing Cattle.”