By far the biggest surprise in the report were placements, which were only marginally lower than last March and on the very high end of estimates. Dry conditions in some areas and higher imports likely contributed to the miss vs. estimates.
Looking at our numbers, the biggest difference was in Nebraska, with placements there at 470k head, about the same as last year and 45k more than we expected. Placements in Texas were 455k head, 5% higher than a year ago.
Imports of feeder cattle from Mexico in the five weeks ending April 1 were 137,373 head, up 40,807 head or 42% compared to a year ago. Some of this was offset by sharply lower imports from Canada, down 21,131 head or 62%. But net imports at near 19,700 head were still about 15% higher y/y and contributed to the larger than expected placement figures.