Cattle (at feedlots) on feed as of Mar. 1 totaled 12.2 million head, up more than 160,000 head from March 2021 and the highest number for the month since USDA began tracking in 1996. The number of cattle on feed has shown year-on-year growth since January, with the increase averaging 1 percent for Jan-Mar.
The U.S. dairy herd was around 9.37 million head as of February, nearly unchanged from January and down about 1 percent YOY. After elevated numbers during October 2020 through August 2021, the dairy cow inventory is back around levels we were seeing just before the pandemic.
The St. Louis Fed feed index reflects high values for corn and other feed components. The index is currently more than 10 points higher than its year-ago value and 20 points higher than its level in February 2020, pre-pandemic.
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