Market bears had an extra reason to roar with the Cattle On Feed Report released last Friday. The inventory is reported at 9% ahead of last year, and 10% higher than April 1, 2004. In fact, it's the largest April 1 inventory since the series began 10 years ago.

Likewise, cattle placement in feedlots for March was 5% ahead of last year, while marketings were down slightly.

Moreover, the Livestock Slaughter report issued by USDA last week pegs beef production and total red meat production at record high levels.

Beef production for March (2.21 billion lbs.) is 8% higher than a year ago on 5% more cattle being slaughtered. Average carcass weights (average 1,273 lbs.) are 36 lbs. heavier than a year ago.

As for total red meat production (4.11 billion lbs.), it's 6% more than a year earlier.

Since the beginning of the year, accumulated beef production is running 6% more than last year; pork is 4% higher. -- Wes Ishmael, BEEF Stocker Trends newsletter