DTN Livestock Midday: Futures Continue to Fall

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Sharp losses have hit expanded trading limits in several feeder cattle and lean hog futures contracts. The underlying bearishness through the complex continues to build as concerns grow about the ability to sustain meat demand in the near future.

General Comments

Sharp losses have swiftly and aggressively moved into all livestock trade, which is causing many contracts to hit expanded trading limits. The uncertainty through the complex continues to focus on the concern that meat prices may continue to erode as demand uncertainty is developing.

May corn is up 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $4.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 240.94 points and NASDAQ is up 68.91 points.


Sharp losses have quickly developed through the entire live cattle complex with pressure increasing as the day progresses. This has pushed April futures to the expanded trading limit, causing increased underlying concerns as several contracts have moved to new lows.

April live cattle contracts are down $4.50 at $92.82, June live cattle contracts are down $3.87 at $83.60 and August live cattle contracts are down $3.50 at $85.60. There is expected to be increased underlying pressure through the entire cattle complex as the support seen in energy and financial markets has been unable to calm overall fears that consumer demand for beef may continue to erode over the near future.

Cash cattle activity remains at a standstill with packer interest quiet given the strong pressure in futures trade and further erosion in beef values. Asking prices remain at $114 to $115 per cwt live in the South and $183 and higher dressed across the North.

It is possible that additional trade may be delayed until sometime Friday given the overall lack of interest so far Thursday. Both sides are looking for increased underlying stability over the coming days before actively stepping into the market.

Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $1.62 ($233.55) and select down $1.07 ($224.06) with a movement of 55 loads (24.67 loads of choice, 8.19 loads of select, 16.79 loads of trim and 5.84 loads of ground beef).


Sharp losses have continued to hold through the entire complex with expanding trading limits. This may add increase pressure through the end of the week. April feeders are down $5.42 at $112.00, May feeders are down $6.30 at $112.15 and August feeders are down $6.75 at $117.65.

The underlying pressure in all cattle trade is expected to continue to put pressure on cash feeder cattle sales through the week.


Nearby lean hog futures are locked in expanded trading limits Thursday concerning widespread pressure expected to continue in pork values. Even though moderate sales of pork were reported to China in the morning export sales report, the focus on uncertain demand support from domestic and export markets combined with still aggressive pork production levels through most of the summer has lean hog trade setting new contract lows Thursday morning.

The projected lean hog index for 4/1/2020 is down $1.38 at $63.08 and the actual index for 3/31/2020 is down $0.69 at $64.46. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.05 with a weighted average of $48.42, ranging from $45.00 to $50.50 on 2,146 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $54.67.

Pork cutouts totaled 210.18 loads with 186.41 loads of pork cuts and 23.77 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.95, $63.09.

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