DTN Livestock Midday: Lean Hog Market Is Working, Cattle Trade Is Quiet

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

After the long weekend the market open is largely uneventful with cattle contracts be lethargic. It’s too early for cash cattle trade to develop and lean hog contracts are trading slightly higher. But after last week’s signing of the phase one trade agreement and the emotional influx surrounding its being approved, it’s healthy for the market to open to a steady, largely unchanged market place.

General Comments

March corn is down 1 1/4 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is down $0.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 29.20 points and NASDAQ is up 5.67 points.


The live cattle market is sticking close to steady as the noon hour approaches, with nearby contracts just barely over and deferred contracts trading slightly lower. February live cattle are up $0.02 at $126.27, April live cattle are up $0.10 at $127.35 and June live cattle are up $0.10 at $119.30. It’s too early in the week for cash cattle to start to trade and asking prices have yet to be established.

Consigned to Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange there are 561 head of fat cattle with two pens of steers from Nebraska, one pen of heifers from Kansas and one more pen of steers from Texas.

Formula totals for last week were mixed, larger in Nebraska, but smaller in Texas and Kansas: Kansas 86,605(down 13,399), Nebraska 60,284(up 7,982), Texas 74,955(down 3,687). Total trade volume was also mixed higher in Nebraska, somewhat lower in Texas, and lower in Kansas: Kansas 108,370(down 6,723), Nebraska 85,284(up 14,102), Texas 81,801(down 744). New show lists appear to be mixed, larger in Kansas, but lower in Texas, and Nebraska/Colorado.

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $0.79 ($215.43) and select down $0.12 ($213.36) with a movement of 54 loads (34.05 loads of choice, 6.07 loads of select, 6.26 loads of trim and 8.01 loads of ground beef).


Trading slightly lower Monday morning, feeder cattle contracts aren’t overjoyed with Monday’s appearance. January feeder cattle are down $0.42 at $144.92, March feeder cattle are down $0.32 at $144.67 and April feeder cattle are down $0.37 at $147.50. Upon reviewing last week’s weighted averages for sale barns across the country, most sale barns had phenomenal sales on steer calves weighing less than 700 pounds.

It was common to read the weekly averages and note last week’s steers selling $2.00 to $5.00 higher with some sales even noting instances of prices $10.00 better.


Cumulative trade volume is grabbing interest as lean hog contracts trade sideways into the noon hour. February lean hogs are up $0.22 at $67.90, April lean hogs are up $0.47 at $74.57 and May lean hogs are up $0.35 at $81.05. It’s helping that both the cattle contracts are quiet, seeming to be uninterested in taking a stake in Tuesday’s trade, and corn prices are teetering lower.

The projected lean hog index for 1/20/2020 is up $0.04 at $60.18, and the actual for 1/17/2020 is down $0.31 at $60.14. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.01 with a weighted average of $51.81, ranging from $46.00 to $53.00 on 8,831 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $51.53.

Pork cutouts total 207.32 loads with 190.85 loads of pork cuts and 16.47 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.17 at $78.28.

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