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Cattle on Feed Preview                 04/19 15:15

By John A. Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst

                        USDA Actual  Average Guess      Range
Cattle on Feed:
On Feed April 1            xxxxx         107.5%     106.5-108.0%
Placed in March            xxxxx          90.0%       85.0-94.0%
Marketed in March          xxxxx          96.0%       95.0-96.5%

Monitors of feedlot supplies should be bracing themselves for a 
surprise when USDA unveils the April 1 On Feed report Friday 
afternoon (2:00 CDT). Well, at least a small one. For the first 
time in 12 months, March placement activity should be confirmed 
to total below the previous year.

Yet we'd take that widespread prediction with a grain of salt. 
Although last month's in-movement is likely to fall 10% (or 
more) below March of 2017, it needs to be kept in perspective. 
Specifically, last year's placement was the largest seen since 
the data series began in 1996. So even if last month's placement 
fell 10% short of that high-water market, it could still 
represent the largest late-winter purchase of feedlot 
replacement seen since 2004.

The March marketing total could also look a bit misleading for a 
difference reason. Last month contained one fewer business day 
than March 2017. Accordingly, if the monthly total turns out 4% 
shy of the previous year, the daily average marketing in March 
would still be about even with 2017.

For more Harrington comments, check out 

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