By Kirk Maltais

The Agriculture Department said Friday that U.S. cattle inventories on feed through March 1 were down, although not quite as much as expected by analysts for the month.

Total supplies of cattle on feedlots were 11.6 million head, down 4% from a year ago, the USDA said in its monthly Cattle on Feed Report. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal prior to the report's release were expecting the inventories to be down by nearly 5% versus this time last year.

Placements of cattle on feed also fell, totaling 1.73 million head logged through Mar. 1, a drop of 7%. Analysts were expecting placements to be down nearly 7%.

The USDA reported that the amount of cattle marketed for the month ended Mar. 1 totaled 1.74 million head, which is off 5% from last year's total. Analysts had forecast cattle marketed to be down over 4%.

The most-active cattle contract trading on the CME closed down 0.3% to $1.565 a pound, and lean hog futures closed up 0.5% to 80.175 cents a pound.

To see related data, search "USDA Monthly Cattle on Feed Data" in Dow Jones NewsPlus.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-17-23 1523ET