Strong placements were expected ahead of the cattle on feed report as analyst ranges were from 3.6 to 13.1 percent above a year ago. This large range is in line with the strong feeder market seen over the course of October indicating the interest from feedlots to continue to fill pens even though estimated feeding returns have been negative for the last three months. The number of placed animals did slow in July and August as feeding returns declined, but September jumped to 13.5 percent higher as the five-market fed prices climbed out of their lowest point all year of $104.65 per cwt. The number of animals placed in October came in at 10 percent over last year, some of which can be attributed to one additional slaughter day this year compared to last.
Marketings have continued to be aggressive and so feedlot inventories have not become burdensome even though nine of the last running 12 months have shown placements over 10 percent ahead of the prior year. Marketings have remained 3 and 10 percent above a year ago all year and in October they continued the positive trend coming in at 6 percent above 2016.