The specter of Mad Cow has made for changing times in the beef industry. But one thing that hasn't changed is consumer demand for beef. It's remained strong. That's good news for cattle producers, who this week focused attention on the latest feedlot inventory.
Released after the close of the markets on Friday, the report shows total cattle on feed at 102 percent of a year ago, placements at 94 percent, and marketings at 96 percent. It was the lowest February total for placements in four years ... and the lowest for marketings in nine years.
Analysts say packers and feedlots both have been playing it close to the vest as they expected imports of Canadian cattle to resume on March 7th. But a federal court's temporary injunction that blocked the resumption of trade caught many in the industry off guard. And though retail demand for beef remains strong, suppliers are waiting for a correction in cash bids before stepping up sales.