DTN Livestock Midday: Contracts Struggling

Cattle drinking at on-farm pond. Photo: Kansas State University

Livestock Contracts Still Trying to Wade Through Week — Determining Direction

Livestock contracts struggle to find a sheer direction through Monday’s early trade. The feeder cattle contract is strongly optimistic while the live cattle and lean hog complexes aren’t as bullish.

General Comments

Heading into Monday’s afternoon trade, the livestock complex is torn on whether higher prices should be sought, or if the complex should simply trade cautiously. The live cattle and lean hog complex are trading mixed, but the feeder cattle contracts are vigorously trading higher. Corn’s lower trend and exciting feeder cattle acquisition make for an encouraged board. December corn is down 7 1/2 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is down $7.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 419.74 points and NASDAQ is up 182.76 points.

LIVE CATTLE

Live cattle contracts are mixed as nearby contracts are trading mildly lower, and deferred contracts are trading higher. October live cattle are down $0.37 at $104.20, December live cattle are down $0.02 at $108.37 and February live cattle are up $0.07 at $111.80. Cash cattle trade was exceptional last week as price jumped $4.00 to $5.00 higher for dressed cattle, and $2.00 to $3.00 higher for live cattle.

Bids and asking prices have yet to be established for the entire feeding region, but Nebraska has priced dressed cattle at $162 or higher, and live cattle at $101 or higher. The rest of the countryside is expected to price cattle higher as well as last week aided a stronger cash cattle trade.

The USDA’s National Weekly Direct Slaughter Cattle — Negotiated Sales shared that last week packers bought 119,962 head. Of that, 106,208 head are committed for delivery in the next two weeks, and the remaining 13,754 head will be delivered in the following 15 to 30 days.

Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $0.44 ($204.06) and select down $1.86 ($192.43) with a movement of 73 loads (35.72 loads of choice, 23.13 loads of select, 5.51 loads of trim and 8.44 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE

Hi-ho up feeder cattle contracts go. Last week feeder cattle sales fared phenomenally well as buyers keep lining up to buy feeder cattle despite the uncertainty in the fat cattle world. Putting a simple twist on a complex situation, it seems as though cattlemen are gut-full of bad news and are simply ready to have a lively and fruitful market again. August feeders are up $1.35 at $137.12, September feeders are up $0.80 at $138.12 and October feeders are up $1.15 at $139.65.

LEAN HOGS

Lean hog contracts are fighting some resistance in deferred contracts while nearby contracts trade higher. August lean hogs are up $0.82 at $50.70, October lean hogs are up $0.42 at $50.27 and December lean hogs are down $0.02 at $51.75. Hog slaughter has been extremely aggressive in the last couple of weeks and if the industry can keep processing hogs at the speed they have been, achieving current-ness isn’t as far fetched as thought.

The projected lean hog index for 7/9/2020 is up $0.15 at $45.33, and the actual index for 7/8/2020 is down $0.17 at $45.18. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.48 with a weighted average of $29.52, ranging from $26.00 to $29.97 on 5,422 head and a five-day rolling average of $29.37. Pork cutouts total 132.17 loads with 116.94 loads of pork cuts and 15.22 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $3.40, $72.35.

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