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Cattle placements down, but near top end of estimates

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Placements of U.S. cattle into feedlots declined in January, just not quite as much as what some analysts were expecting.

The USDA says placements to start 2024 were 1.792 million head, a decrease of 7% on the year, leading to tighter ready numbers this spring and summer, but that was towards the high end of pre-report estimates.

That drop was partially due to the bitterly cold conditions and snow experienced in many of the major feeding areas during January, impacting transportation and animal health, but unless this placements figure gets revised in coming months, the weather was less of a factor than what many were anticipating.

Cattle placements down, but near top end of estimates