DTN Livestock Midday: Contracts Lean Boldly

Photo: Blair Fannin, Texas AgriLife Extension

Trudging confidently into the noon hour, the livestock contracts are trading fully higher.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Rolling closer and closer to the noon hour, the entire livestock complex has moved to trading higher; earlier in the day the cattle futures were skeptical while the lean hog market skipped higher. Cattle futures were pressured to trade lower earlier in the week, but with support from traders now ample, the markets have seen the encouragement needed to move higher. March corn is up 5 1/2 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $1.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 297.79 points and NASDAQ is up 83.46 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Live cattle futures have jumped on board with the rest of the livestock market and are now trading higher after closing lower through the earlier part of the week. April live cattle are up $1.40 at $122.60, June live cattle are up $0.70 at $119.82 and August live cattle are up $0.90 at $118.42. The higher futures come at a great time as it could help encourage packers in their cash cattle market bids.

There’s been a few bids develop in Nebraska at $113 and in Texas at $114, but thus far no feedlots have jumped on the offers. It’s still early in the week for cash cattle trade to develop and feedlots aren’t impressed whatsoever by initial packer bids. Asking prices in the South are marked at $116 and the North has yet to share their asking prices. Packer interest should develop more through the afternoon, but it’s looking like the week’s cash cattle trade won’t develop until Thursday or most likely Friday.

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction on Wednesday listed a total of 1,199 head, of which 409 actually sold; 790 head were listed as unsold, as they did not meet the reserve prices, which ranged from $114 to $116. Opening prices ranged from $112 to $113.50, high bids ranged from $114 to $114.25. The state-by-state breakdown looks like this: Texas 1,071 total head, with 409 head sold at $114.25, 662 head unsold; Oklahoma 74 total head, all of which went unsold; Kansas 54 total head, all of which went unsold.

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $1.11 ($241.40) and select down $0.64 ($229.89) with a movement of 81 loads (54.48 loads of choice, 5.54 loads of select, 10.32 loads of trim and 10.22 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Early Wednesday morning it didn’t look like feeder cattle contracts were going to draw the trader interest necessary to move higher, but as the market approached midmorning, the market had a change of heart and feeders are trading fully higher. March feeders are up $1.45 at $140.02, April feeders are up $1.75 at $144.35 and May feeders are up $1.32 at $146.42. The corn market is having a modest rally, trading anywhere from 4 to 6 cents higher in the nearby contracts. Largely the aggressive buyer demand throughout the countryside this week for feeders has pushed the market and encouraged higher trade amid modest corn gains.

LEAN HOGS

Breaking out well ahead of Tuesday’s gains, the lean hog contracts are showing no signs of weakness throughout Wednesday’s trade and boldly continue to climb higher. April lean hogs are up $2.32 at $88.75, June lean hogs are up $1.32 at $94.95 and July lean hogs are up $1.15 at $94.67. There’s a lot that can happen in the day between the morning cutout prices and afternoon cutout prices, but if the day can close with higher cutout values again, the market will most likely keep with its upward surge as there’s phenomenal fundamental backing. Pinpointing when packers will feel confident in their committed supplies and back away from the market is still challenging, but at the time the market will start to see some fundamental weakness from the cash market and could begin to trade lower.

The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/23/2021 is up $0.97 at $79.13, and the actual index for 2/22/2021 is up $0.42 at $78.16. Hog prices are sharply higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $4.60 with a weighted average of $74.06, ranging from $68.00 to $76.00 on 5,869 head and a five-day rolling average of $70.72. Pork cutouts total 211.90 loads with 181.40 loads of pork cuts and 30.50 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $2.56, $95.31.

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