DTN Livestock Midday: Modest Support Developing

    Cattle feeding in field following freeze. Photo: Bruce Schultz, LSU AgCenter

    It’s been a pretty slow day for livestock futures but thankfully modest trader support is helping the contracts trade higher into the afternoon.

    GENERAL COMMENTS:

    As the day moves closer and closer to the noon hour, support throughout the livestock contracts is improving. It’s too bad the cash cattle market has already traded the bulk of the week’s business because the stronger futures could have encouraged higher cash cattle trade. May corn is up 7 3/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $1.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 57.11 points and NASDAQ is down 139.04 points.

    LIVE CATTLE:

    Live cattle futures are enjoying a modestly rally into the noon hour. April live cattle are up $0.45 at $119.00, June live cattle are up $0.85 at $117.82 and August live cattle are up $0.60 at $116.82. The market’s fundamentals throughout the live cattle sector haven’t improved, but traders are feeling a little antsy before heading into the weekend, and thankfully generously investing in live cattle contracts. It’s a shame the cash cattle market didn’t wait to trade until later in the week as the board’s stronger futures could have helped feedlots sell cattle higher.

    It’s been a dismal day throughout the cash cattle market as packers aren’t overly interested in procuring cattle and know feedlots are willing to take lower prices. It’s looking like the bulk of this week’s trade is done with, though a little clean-up trade could develop before the week’s end. Thankfully slaughter speeds remain strong, which could help the cash cattle market in the weeks to come as packers need to restock their pens.

    Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $0.75 ($233.13) and select down $0.95 ($220.73) with a movement of 65 loads (38.95 loads of choice, 9.75 loads of select, 8.56 loads of trim and 7.61 loads of ground beef).

    FEEDER CATTLE:

    Traders have had a change of heart as the attitude throughout the livestock futures is mildly strengthening. Even with corn prices rallying $0.07 to $0.09 in the nearby contracts, the feeder cattle contracts are trading higher as the market feels confident to do so with the live cattle contracts scaling higher as well. March feeders are up $0.10 at $135.20, April feeders are up $0.07 at $139.05 and May feeders are up $0.45 at $143.10. With corn prices continuing to creep higher and higher, the demand for heavier feeder cattle isn’t much, but cattle that will make grass calves are met with strong demand as the warmer weather is reminding cattlemen that spring is coming.

    LEAN HOGS:

    Lean hog futures are mostly higher, adding another day to the already impressive rally the market has secured. There’s still a lot that can change leading up to the afternoon’s close, but if pork cutout values can close higher accompanied by an at least steady cash market, the market’s strength is something that will have to be dealt with early next week. April lean hogs are down $0.22 at $87.07, June lean hogs are up $0.52 at $95.27 and July lean hogs are up $0.55 at $95.85.

    The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 3/4/2021 is up $0.51 at $84.57, and the actual index for 3/3/2021 is up $0.79 at $84.06. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.89 with a weighted average of $83.58, ranging from $75.00 to $90.00 on 3,054 head and a five-day rolling average of $80.54. Pork cutouts total 193.37 loads with 161.86 loads of pork cuts and 31.51 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.71, $95.23.

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