The number of cattle sent to feedlots for fattening probably declined for the second consecutive month in September as surging feed costs and dwindling availability of young animals pinched beef producers, analysts say.

Feedlot placements during September fell 1.5 percent to 8 percent from the same month in 2010, based on estimates from three analysts before of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s next monthly Cattle on Feed update, scheduled for release Oct. 21. Placements in the top U.S. cattle states totaled 2.46 million head in September 2010.

Supplies of young cattle, known as feeders, have fallen in recent months, reflecting severe drought in Texas and other areas of the Southern Plains that earlier this year forced ranchers to sell animals earlier than they normally would have. As corn rallied to all-time highs, feedlot operators saw their losses swell.