What Are Feeder Cattle?


Quick Answer

"Feeder cattle" is a term used in the commodity market to refer to cattle raised for slaughter and consumption. Commodity traders use the population of feedlots to predict potential shortages of live cattle.

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Full Answer

Feeder cattle are sent to feedlots as calves once they reach a weight of 600 to 800 pounds. At the feedlot, the feeder cattle are fattened to a weight of 1,000 to 1,300 pounds over a period of a few months on a diet of corn, sugar beet waste and grains to prepare for slaughter. The greatest proportion of feeder cattle are male, but females are also included.

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