DTN Livestock Midday: Live Cattle Pulling Trader Interest

Cattle feeding. Photo: ©Debra L Ferguson

Seeming to switch out the spotlight, the live cattle complex sees support build while the lean hog and feeder cattle contracts trade mixed.

General Comments

The live cattle complex is seeing a modest surge of support developing in the contracts after enduring two days of steadily lower prices. The lean hog market is trading mixed into Wednesday’s afternoon as traders are broadening their horizons and looking at other contracts worthy of investing in. Cash cattle trade is still quiet, indicating that trade could wait until Thursday or Friday to develop. December corn is down 3/4 cent per bushel and December soybean meal is up $5.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 102.94 points and NASDAQ is down 142.51 points.


Cash cattle enthusiasts are thrilled to see the board trading slightly higher as feeders have patiently waited this week to sell their showlists. October live cattle are up $0.25 at $106.75, December live cattle are up $0.50 at $110.67 and February live cattle are up $0.22 at $114.42. The countryside sits at a crossroad, waiting patiently for packers to up their bids and let the cards fall again as they did through last week’s trade — to higher prices. Packers would like to get cattle bought for steady prices as opposed to paying more this week, but as feeders hold their cards tight to their chests, they may end up paying more again this week.

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction listed a total of 683 head (two lots each in Kansas and Texas), of which 219 actually sold, 195 head were listed as unsold, and 269 head were listed as PO (Passed Offer). The state by state breakdown looks like this: Texas 417 total head, with 148 head sold at $104.25, zero head unsold, 269 head listed as PO ($104.25); Kansas 266 total head, with 71 head sold at $104.00, 195 head unsold, and zero head listed as PO. The delivery date/weighted averages breakdown is as listed: 1-9 day delivery: 464 head total, of which none sold; 1-17-day delivery 219 head total, all sold, with a price range of $104.00 to $104.25.

Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.96 ($216.40) and select up $1.63 ($207.93) with a movement of 111 loads (57.42 loads of choice, 20.36 loads of select, 9.27 loads of trim and 23.48 loads of ground beef).


Feeder cattle contacts would love nothing more than for their market to trade higher as the heart of the fall run is right around the corner and some sale barns are already seeing more calves come across their scales. Meanwhile the futures complex would like to trade higher but without vast trader interest and little fundamental support from cash cattle market yet this week, the market is left trading modestly lower. October feeders are down $0.12 at $140.50, November feeders are down $0.50 at $140.67 and January feeders are down $0.45 at $139.00.


The lean hog complex is trading mixed as there’s contracts trading both above and below steady into Wednesday’s afternoon. October lean hogs are up $0.85 at $69.17, December lean hogs are down $0.12 at $63.97 and February lean hogs are down $0.22 at $68.85. Wednesday’s trade wouldn’t be considered disappointing considering that the market has moved substantially higher over the last three weeks and fundamental support is still notably powerful considering that cash hogs continue to sell stronger and that once again cutout prices are seeing higher levels and being sought after from end-consumers domestically. Thursday’s export report is going to be highly anticipated and could be somewhat reactionary for the marketplace.

The projected lean hog index for 9/21/2020 is up $0.88 at $72.17 and the actual index for 9/18/2020 is up $1.71 at $71.29. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.63 with a weighted average of $63.98, ranging from $58.50 to $68.00 on 6,053 head and a five-day rolling average of $61.38. Pork cutouts total 160.78 loads with 142.51 loads of pork cuts and 18.28 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $2.09, $90.75.

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