A monthly report, produced by the U.S. Agriculture Department, that details the number of cattle being placed in feedlots as a precursor to going to market. Three stages of getting cattle to market are detailed by the report: The first is placements, which are cattle that are taken out of pastures, where they eat grass, and put on corn to start gaining weight. The second stage is cattle on feed, which is the number of cattle that are eating corn to gain weight in preparation for slaughter; the corn may be mixed with some extra protein, such as soymeal. The third stage is the number of marketed cattle, which are cattle that have been sent to slaughter.
The cattle-on-feed report is stated in percentage terms compared to the previous year. For example, if cattle on feed are placed at 99 percent compared with a year ago, that means that placements are down one percentage point from a year ago.