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U.S. cattle herd lowest on record

The U.S. fed cattle supply on July 1 was 3.8 per cent larger than a year ago as a devastating drought in the U.S. Southwest and high cattle prices pulled young cattle into feedlots, analysts said on Friday.

In a separate report, USDA put the U.S. cattle herd, which includes all cattle inside and outside of feedlots plus calves and dairy cattle, at 100 million head, which was the smallest since mid-year records began in 1973.

USDA reported the July 1 feedlot cattle supply at 10.451 million head, up 3.8 per cent from a year ago and the most for that date since 2007. Analysts, on average, expected 102.7 per cent.

USDA reported June placements at 104.2 per cent, or 1.695 million head, compared with the trade estimate of 93.5 per cent, and June cattle marketings at 105.3 per cent, or 2.102 million head, versus the trade average of 102.9 per cent.

The 1.695 million placements were the largest for June since 2006.

The larger feedlot supply shocked analysts, who predicted live cattle futures prices will drop 0.200 to 1.00 cent per lb when trading opens Monday at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.


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