February 22, 2013 / 8:36 PM / in 5 years

U.S. cattle placements up first time in eighth months

* Feb 1 feedlot cattle supply down 6 pct yr-over-year
    * Jan. placements up 2 pct yr-over-yr, top forecasts
    * Marketings up 6 pct from yr ago, beat estimate
    * Report viewed mixed for cattle futures on Monday

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO Feb 22 (Reuters) - The number of cattle placed in
U.S. feedlots in January rose for the first time in eight
months, a government report showed on Friday, a sign that the
worst drought in more than half a century continued to impact
the industry.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture showed placements up 2
percent from a year earlier to 1.876 million head, showing its
first monthly increase since May. The average of analysts
estimates was for a 0.4 percent gain.
    Ranchers have been forced to move cattle into feedlots from
drought-damaged pastures.
    USDA put the supply of cattle in feedlots on Feb. 1 at
11.073 million head, or 93.8 percent of the year-ago, which
matched the average trade estimate. 
    The government said the number of cattle sold to packers, or
marketings, in January was up about 6 percent from a year
earlier at 1.917 million head versus a forecast for a 4.8
percent increase.
    Analysts said the larger-than-expected placements could
weigh on deferred live cattle contracts at the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange when the market reopens on Monday morning.
    They said the higher-than-expected marketings may support
nearby cattle contracts.

 (Additional reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Bob

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