DTN Livestock Midday: Thorn Still Buried in Side of Livestock Futures

    A Criollo steer on the USDA-ARS, Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico. Photo: Texas AgriLife Extension

    Rounding out the week on a not-so-optimistic note, the livestock futures head into Friday afternoon trade fully lower.

    GENERAL COMMENTS:

    After a long, gruesome week in the cattle futures, watching the contracts trade steadily lower into Friday afternoon feels like a brutal punishment and watching paint dry. The lean hog futures thus far haven’t dipped into their expanded limits but are continuing to feel pressured as the day ticks on. May corn is down 5 3/4 cents per bushel and July soybean meal is steady. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 93.60 points and NASDAQ is up 5.34 points.

    LIVE CATTLE:

    Another day, another slippery slope of liquation and high corn prices amid slightly higher cash cattle prices and higher boxes in the live cattle market. Man, has it been a tough week! April live cattle are down $0.60 at $121.00, June live cattle are down $0.45 at $119.22 and August live cattle are down $0.45 at $119.25. The cash cattle market is still surprisingly quiet following Thursday’s trade. There should be more cattle trade before the end of the day, though as of right now the countryside is oddly quiet. Feedlots grew skeptical about waiting the week out much longer than Thursday as they feared the week’s lighter kill, the rising cost of corn and some had a basis incentive.

    Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.32 ($276.94) and select up $0.70 ($269.13) with a movement of 61 loads (37.31 loads of choice, 6.06 loads of select, 9.32 loads of trim and 7.84 loads of ground beef).

    FEEDER CATTLE:

    Feeder cattle futures are finishing up in the same doggish manner of their entire week. Without much incentive from the cash cattle market, and even though corn prices are trading lower heading into the afternoon, the market still must weigh the facts that inputs are high compared to their returns on cattle at this point. April feeders are down $0.02 at $140.02, May feeders are down $0.37 at $144.05 and August feeders are down $0.52 at $155.07.

    LEAN HOGS:

    With the April contract now expired, the lean hog market looks to June to set the pace. June lean hogs are down $1.67 at $103.02, July lean hogs are down $1.60 at $100.77 and August lean hogs are down $0.82 at $96.97. Packers vigorously supported the cash hog market early Friday morning as there’s already been upward of 7,600 head bought at $2.80 more than Thursday morning’s weighted average. After a volatile trade throughout Thursday, seeing the complex trade $1.00 to $2.00 lower is better than the steep $3.00 dip the market took Thursday. But how the contracts trade throughout the afternoon will be vital as the volatile environment can change in a second.

    The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 4/14/2021 is up $0.33 at $103.03 and the actual index for 4/13/2021 is up $0.32 at $102.70. Hog prices are sharply higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $2.80 with a weighted average of $103.96, ranging from $101.30 to $106.00 on 7,610 head and a five-day rolling average of $101.32. Pork cutouts total 162.75 loads with 132.20 loads of pork cuts and 30.56 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.68, $112.69.

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