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More cattle pass through the largest feedlots


The number of feedlots holding more than 50,000 head has nearly doubled over the past thirty years as large feedlots handle an increasing share of cows across the country.

In 1992, 39 feedlots had a capacity of at least 50,000 head per year and handled 16.8% of the nation’s livestock inventory, according to historical USDA data.

Last year there were 76 feedlots with a capacity of at least 50,000 and these operations processed 33.5% of all livestock.

Feedlots fatten livestock in the final stages of production before harvest and account for about 19.6% of total livestock supplies this year, according to Derrell Peel, an agriculture professor at Oklahoma State University.

“Livestock inventory as a percentage of the country’s total livestock population has continued to increase over time,” Peel wrote in a report on the latest feedlot figures.

This article first appeared on Investigate Midwest and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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