DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Idle While Lean Hogs Climb

Photo: NCRS

Cattle contracts are holding idle trading lower while the lean hog contracts are looking positively for higher trade.

General Comments

Lean hog contracts are taking advantage of the opportunity to trade slightly higher while cattle contracts are falling lower and not gaining any market interest.

March corn is steady and March soybean meal is steady. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 21.29 points and NASDAQ is up 34.12 points.


Another day passes and the cattle contracts sit quietly lower. Caught in a steady holding pattern between $125 and $127.50, contracts keep trading in between both planes with no current support from the cash market to push prices out of the common ground. February live cattle are down $0.07 at $126.30, April live cattle are down $0.22 at $127.00 and June live cattle are down $0.40 at $118.77.

Cash market action is yet to develop, and it wouldn’t be surprising if trade waited until sometime Friday to get with business. Asking prices in the South are at $126 to $127, and in the North at $202-plus.

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction today listed a total of 561 head total, consisting of four lots (two lots in Nebraska, one lot each in Texas and Kansas), all set for 1-9-day delivery. Asking prices were at $124, only one lot sold in Kansas at $124.

Boxed beef cutouts are mixed: choice up $0.67 ($215.18) and select down $0.51 ($212.96) with a movement of 90 loads (58.41 loads of choice, 10.47 loads of select, 3.98 loads of trim and 17.07 loads of ground beef).


Wednesday continues to bleed the feeder cattle market lower, with some nearby contracts dipping below $1.00 losses. January feeder cattle are down $0.75 at $144.32, March feeders are down $1.02 at $143.65 and April feeders are down $1.02 at $146.52. Without there being a clear direct for the live cattle market it’s hard for the feeder cattle market to find solid ground.

Interest on the board remains relatively minimal but sale barns continue to sell calves for higher prices and there’s an exceptional market right now for lighter-weight calves that will make grass calves come spring.


The lean hog complex is having another day of incremental gains through both the nearby and deferred contracts. February lean hogs are up $0.25 at $67.60, April lean hogs are up $0.60 at $74.42 and May lean hogs are up $0.45 at $80.80. It’s helping the lean hog side of the market that the cattle contracts and cash cattle market is sitting steady so attention can focus on lean hog positioning.

The projected lean hog index for 1/21/2020 is up $0.84 at $61.02 and the actual for 1/20/2020 is up $0.04 at $60.18. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.01 with a weighted average of $51.67, ranging from $48.00 to $52.50 on 8,315 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $51.67.

Pork cutouts total 144.96 loads with 131.53 loads of pork cuts and 13.43 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.39, $79.58.

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