By Kirk Maltais

Placements of new cattle on feedlots through the month ended April 1 fell more than expected by analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

In its monthly report issued Friday, the Department of Agriculture said that new placements of cattle on feedlots totaled 1.75 million head. That is down 12.4% from the same timeframe last year, according to USDA data, and exceeds the 7.2% drop-off forecast by analysts.

Marketed cattle on feed also fell from 2023, totaling 1.71 million head. That is down 13.7% from the previous year, and exceeds analyst expectations of an 11% decline.

Total inventory of cattle on feedlots nationwide grew through the month of March versus this time last year, with the U.S. herd totaling 11.82 million head. That is up roughly 174,000 head from this time last year, a 1.5% increase, but below forecasts by analysts surveyed by the Journal of a 2% uptick in herds.

In trading Friday, most-active live cattle futures closed up 0.2%, to $1.757 a pound, while lean hog futures closed up 2.2%, to $1.04975 a pound.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-19-24 1545ET