3/25 – In Friday’s Cattle on Feed Report, the USDA said new placements onto feedlots in Feb were up 2.2% from a year ago, surprising private analysts whose consensus forecast was for a 3.8% decrease. The March 1st feedlot inventory at 11.8M head was 0.7% above a year ago, while most agricultural economists had expected the first monthly decline since Dec 2016. The larger than expected cattle numbers are mildly bearish for prices. However, that bearish sentiment is being countered by the potential for devastating losses that are expected in the wake of Nebraska’s bomb-cyclone. Early estimates are projecting corn and livestock losses (due to flooding) at close to $1B . Nebraska is the 2nd-largest cattle state with 6.4M head, and the country’s 3rd-largest corn-producing state. Cattle futures, which closed at $129.73/cwt on Friday, are near their high for the year.