U.S. cattle on feed totaled 11.3 million head as of July 1, reflecting the month-over-month decline expected for this time of year but up 4 percent year over year. The U.S. herd was counted at 41.9 million head as of the beginning of the month, up 1 percent from last July, with the entire increase reflected in beef cows; dairy cows totaled 9.4 million head, unchanged from a year ago.
USDA continues to trim estimated corn used for feed. The most recent WASDE lowered 2017/18 feed use by 50 million bushels, and the current forecast for 2018/19 is 25 million bushels below this season’s estimate, in part due to distillers grains from ethanol production displacing a portion of corn historically used for feed. Although cattle on feed is likely to decline month over month through September, larger poultry and hog populations support demand for feed, including corn coproducts. In June, Midwest corn gluten feed pricing was over 70 percent higher year over year, while pricing for dried distillers grains was about 65 percent higher. Corn gluten meal pricing in June was about the same as a year ago.
Monthly cattle on feed, by corn marketing year
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