DTN Livestock Midday: Corn Regains Support Leaving Feeders to Scale Lower

Photo: Blair Fannin, Texas AgriLife Extension

Tuesday’s trade has been relatively slow with both the live cattle and lean hog contracts enjoying another day of modest gains while the feeder cattle contracts tumble lower thanks to higher corn prices.

General Comments

The livestock complex continues to trade with live cattle and lean hog contracts continuing their upward quest, while the higher trading corn contracts push the feeder cattle contracts lower. Meanwhile the countryside has yet to see any developments on the cash cattle front as most of the countryside is blanketed in snow and waiting until the latter part of the week to ignite business. March corn is up 18 3/4 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is up $9.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 21.50 points and NASDAQ is up 8.37 points.

LIVE CATTLE

The live cattle contracts are enjoying another day of stronger boxed beef prices and flourishing energy that’s allowing the contracts to continue to trade higher. February live cattle are up $0.52 at $117.05, April live cattle are up $0.32 at $123.27 and June live cattle are up $0.62 at $119.45. The strength that continues to build throughout the complex is music to feedlot’s ears as they are hopeful to add at least $2.00 to this week’s market.

The snow that fell Monday afternoon and through the evening will slow the week’s trade and push business into the latter half — which is ideal again for feedlots. Early asking prices of $114 to $115 have been noted in the South but the North has yet to share their asking prices for the week. The industry is waiting anxiously for Friday as the Bi-Annual Cattle Inventory Report will be released. The report is expected to unveil a smaller cowherd which would be incredibly bullish for cow-calf producers.

Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $2.40 ($229.13) and select up $0.65 ($216.86) with a movement of 58 loads (38.60 loads of choice, 10.29 loads of select, 3.24 loads of trim and 6.02 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE

The pressures of rising corn prices are putting the feeder cattle market’s aspirations of higher prices on hold. Nearby corn contracts have been able to post a stellar rally Tuesday morning, gaining anywhere from $0.10 to $0.17 higher. Meanwhile the feeder cattle contracts are scaling anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00 lower as balancing the expense of feed costs is vital. March feeders are down $1.70 at $142.15, April feeders are down $1.30 at $144.95 and May feeders are down $0.90 at $146.75. Feeder cattle sales this week will be met with strong challenges — some sales have canceled due to the road conditions and others are hoping that by the end of the week buyers and trucks will be able to make it in without too much difficulty.

LEAN HOGS

The coolers are calling for pork products as Monday’s Cold Storage Report shared that frozen pork supplies are still at a ten-year low. There’s opportunity sitting in front of the lean hog complex and luckily the futures market has responded positively so far this week. February lean hogs are down $0.50 at $70.12, April lean hogs are up $0.22 at $76.85 and June lean hogs are up $0.30 at $87.80.

The projected two-day lean hog index for 1/25/2021 is up $0.36 at $66.24 and the actual index for 1/22/2021 is up $0.33 at $65.88. Hog prices are not available on the National Direct Morning Hog Report due to confidentiality, there were 3,945 head sold Tuesday morning though. Pork cutouts total 239.38 loads with 219.72 loads of pork cuts and 19.67 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.77, 81.36.

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