February Kansas Feedlot Sales Decline

The number of fed cattle sold to packers by Kansas feedlots in February declined seasonally but remains above last year and the 2011-2015 average for the month, according to a Kansas State University poll of representative state feedlots.

The K-State Extension Service surveys certain feedlots monthly and then extrapolates the results to arrive at calculated statewide numbers.  The results then are compiled by the Livestock Marketing Information Center.

For February, Kansas feedlots sold an average of 4,487 head of finished cattle to packers for slaughter.  This was down 1,005, or 18.3%, from 5,492 in January but up 134, or 2.90%, from last year’s 4,621 and up 1,541, or 52.3%, from the five-year average of 2,946.




Many analysts are touting reduced slaughter rates in February as a major reason for the increase in cattle prices, and they would be right.  Plus, the seasonal reduction in slaughter weights from January added to the bullish underpin of prices since weights were below last year but above the 2011-2015 average.

The average weight of steers marketed to packers during the month was 1,404 pounds, down 12, or 0.85%, from 1,416 in January and down 27, or 1.87%, from 1,431 in 2016.  However, it was above the previous five-year average of 1,371 pounds by 33 pounds, or 2.41%.

Sale weight comparisons for Kansas fed heifers also declined seasonally in February, although the difference with last year was more pronounced.

Kansas feedlot heifer sale weights averaged 1,269 pounds during the month, down 16, or 1.25%, from January’s 1,285 and off 43, or 3.28%, from 1,312 a year earlier, but 32 pounds, or 2.59%, above the average of 1,237.

Where slaughter weights go in March is something of a mystery, although the nod would have to go to the bearish five-year average.  March kill weights for steers and heifers leveled last year, but the 2011-2015 average has them moving lower. Into April’s annual bottom.

The seasonalities for April slaughter weights to be down is very strong, but while the five-year average has the annual bottom for steers and heifers coming in April, the annual bottom for heifers last year came in July at 1,234 pounds.




It seems heifers were better able to handle winter’s chill than the steers.  Average days on feed for the steers sold to packers in February was up seasonally but down counter-seasonally for heifers.

The steers sold to packers in February averaged 164 days on feed while the heifers averaged 149.  By comparison, steer days on feed were up from 158 in January but down from 169 a year earlier and up from the five-year average of 155.8.

Heifer days on feed averaged 149, down from 161 for those sold in January and from 158 a year ago, but were up marginally from the average of 154.