USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed report showed cattle and calves on feed on July 1 at feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totalled 10.3 million, down 4% from a year ago. June feed placements were down nearly 9% from a year ago. This was in line with analysts’ expectations.
June marketings were down nearly 8%, more than the 5% analysts expected. ‘Feedlot marketings should remain at a slower pace for most of the balance of the year, while placements could increase seasonally in the fall as summer grazing cattle are marketed in the third quarter’, wrote Oklahoma State University Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel in an analysis of the USDA reports.
The biggest surprise came in USDA’s mid-year Cattle Inventory report, which showed heifers being held for beef cow replacements at 4.67 million head, down just 2% from a year ago. Livestock analysts were expecting the decline to be twice that, at about 4%.
‘The most bearish long-term number in either report is the number of heifers being held for beef cow replacements’, wrote analysts Steve Meyer and Len Steiner in the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report. ‘This means that US cow calf operations may have sold some cows but they plan to replace more of them more quickly. The increase also means that the supply of ‘other’ heifers available for feeding will be equal to that of 2007 instead of the expected drop of 1.5%.’
Export sales of raw hides for the four weeks to August 1 showed China in their regular top position with 1,169,400 (923,500). Hong Kong was again in third place with 105,600 (182,100), giving the region a combined total of 1,275,000 (1,105,600, 1,364,000).
Korea was again in second place with 422,800 (376,500). Mexico took fourth place with 88,500 (68,300); Taiwan came next with 73,300 (116,400); Japan 69,500 (82,600) and Vietnam 41,000 (128,400).
Thailand purchased 27,100 (39,400); India  15,900 (8,900); Italy 5,000 (18,800, 30,100); and Türkiye 3,100.
In addition to the raw hides, Japan bought 9,000 kip skins (5,100 calf and kip); China 13,100 calf and kip; and Hong Kong 6,800 kip (4,200).
Sales of wet-blue for export during the period under review showed Taiwan in pole position with 106,000 (57,900). Mexico was next in line with 63,200 (63,500, 54,700, 76,300); followed by Hong Kong with 58,900 and Italy with 43,800 (21,200, 164,500, 41,000, 9,500).
In fifth place, the Dominican Republic took 25,100, followed by Korea 18,900 (34,700, 9,400, 31,100); and Vietnam 17,400 (20,000, 10,000, 21,100; 10,900).
China ordered 70,600 over a two week period and then cancelled/adjusted 55,900 leaving a total of 14,700, putting them in eighth place. Indonesia purchased 12,000 (6,000); and Germany 5,600 (2,3000).
Last month Hong Kong and China purchased a combined total of 1,702,000lb of wet-blue splits (1,448,000lb, 1,705,200lb, 4,586,500lb).  Indonesia took 286,000lb (400,000lb); and Korea 135,000lb.