DTN Livestock Midday: Patience is Key

    Cattle feeding. Photo: ©Debra L Ferguson

    It’s looking like Wednesday’s trade could be one that ends up supporting the live cattle, cash cattle, feeder cattle and lean hog markets as higher prices are being seen across the board.


    Wednesday is rocking and rolling and is largely supporting the entire livestock sector to trade higher. There’s some pressure being seen in the deferred feeder cattle contracts, but the markets are thriving off the momentum that’s building in the cash cattle market. May corn is up 4 cents per bushel, and May soybean meal is up $2.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 62.74 points, and the NASDAQ is down 30.69 points.


    The cash cattle market is starting to demand some attention. There’s been some trade reported Wednesday’s morning in both Texas and Kansas for $120, which is easily $3.50 higher than a week ago. Meanwhile, boxed beef prices continue to climb, and the board continues to support higher prices. If packers are willing to give $3 to $4 higher Wednesday, what do you think they’ll be willing to offer come Thursday or Friday? Boxed beef prices aren’t seeming to show any signs of weakening, and with warm weather in the forecast, grilling season is here, my friends, and packers need your cattle. April live cattle are up $0.15 at $122.87, June live cattle are up $0.20 at $124.85 and August live cattle are up $0.45 at $123.87.

    The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction was fun to watch: Not only did the majority of cattle sell, but many sold over the reserve pricing. A total of 4,926 head were listed, of which 3,489 actually sold; 1,437 head were listed as unsold, as they did not meet the reserve prices that ranged from $119.50 to $122. Opening prices ranged from $117.75 to $122 and high bids ranged from $119 to $122.75. The state-by-state breakdown looks like this: Kansas 274 total head, all of which went unsold; Nebraska 2,689 total head, with 2,212 head sold at $120-$122.75, 477 head went unsold; Texas 1,963 total head, including 112 head that were scratched from the sale, 1,277 head sold at $120-$121 and 686 head went unsold.

    Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $2.55 ($265.32) and select up $3.01 ($254.31) with a movement of 74 loads (56.58 loads of choice, 5.24 loads of select, 4.88 loads of trim and 7.30 loads of ground beef).


    Sure, the corn may be trading mildly higher, but so are cash cattle, and that’s an encouraging sign for the feeder cattle market! April feeders are up $0.35 at $146.82, May feeders are up $0.22 at $152 and August feeders are up $0.07 at $161.02. The deferred feeder cattle contracts are struggling to summon the same type of support the nearby contracts are attracting, but thankfully, their losses aren’t too burdensome at the moment. If cash cattle can keep trading higher, the feeder cattle market should only continue to become more and more bullish as higher-fat cattle prices give buyers an incentive to buy calves.


    Even though lean hogs had to scrape and fight for any support Tuesday, Wednesday’s lean hog market is being met with considerable support and the market’s fundamentals are giving traders enough confidence to continue their upward quest. April lean hogs are up $0.67 at $102.77, June lean hogs are up $2.17 at $107.80 and July lean hogs are up $1.82 at $106.42. If the market can keep this momentum throughout the afternoon, the market should have no problem closing higher. And, then, looking to Thursday’s trade, so long as the market is met with a steady to somewhat bullish export sales report, the market’s momentum shouldn’t be rocked.

    The projected lean hog index for 4/5/2021 is up $0.24 at $100.34, and the actual index for 4/2/2021 is up $0.72 at $100.10. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.27 with a weighted average of $97.64, ranging from $92 to $100 on 4,131 head and a five-day rolling average of $96.77. Pork cutouts total 193.45 loads with 168.77 loads of pork cuts and 24.68 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $3.02, $112.41.

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