DTN Livestock Midday: Meek, Quiet Trade

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

The livestock complex hasn’t roared into Monday’s trade after tending to last week’s wounds over the weekend.


The livestock complex has been slow to start Monday morning with the market not sure where its fate lies. The lean hog market is looking to the market’s fundamentals to shine light and support that demand is still exceptional and that consumers are still yearning for more product. The cattle contracts are leery of what the corn market may do and are trading cautiously until more stability is found.

July corn is up 3 1/2 cents per bushel and July soybean meal is down $2.00. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 129.55 points and NASDAQ is down 124.23 points.


The live cattle market’s pressure continues to send most of the contracts lower heading into Monday’s afternoon. June live cattle are down $0.17 at $115.17, August live cattle are down $0.20 at $118.65 and October live cattle are up $0.30 $123.52. The discrepancy between the futures market, cash cattle prices and boxed beef prices continues to be mind boggling.

Looking at the week ahead, the cash cattle market has its work cut out for itself. With boxed beef prices expected to make a season top here in the next week or two, it’s only a matter of when packers start to work the cash cattle market lower again. New showlists appear to be mixed, higher in Kansas, somewhat lower in Nebraska/Colorado, but lower in Texas.

Last week’s negotiated cash cattle movement totaled 68,950 head. Of that 74% (50,690 head) were purchased for the nearby delivery, while the remaining 26% (18,260 head) were purchased for the deferred delivery in the next 15 to 30 days.

Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $2.10 ($319.04) and select up $4.17 ($297.36) with a movement of 36 loads (16.51 loads of choice, 4.74 loads of select, 6.37 loads of trim and 8.21 loads of ground beef).


With the corn market posing a mostly lower trajectory for the day, the feeder cattle contracts are cautiously trading higher. It’s hard to trade wildly higher when the live cattle market is skeptical and the corn contracts could turn higher with a blink of an eye, but thankfully, with some much-needed moisture, feeder cattle buyers were testing last week’s market again and the futures complex is dying to trade higher.

May feeders are down $0.35 at $137.20, August feeders are up $0.70 at $151.85 and September feeders are up $0.70 at $153.37. The feeder cattle market will continue to be subject to harsh price movements as both the corn and live cattle/cash cattle markets trade on shaky ground.


Hold on, simmer down, and remember that we can’t put too much faith into the morning’s pork cutout value. Before determining that weather prices are truly higher or lower, it’s essential that we see how the day concludes. With the futures market scaling steadily lower, cash hog prices trailing lower and yet the morning’s pork cutout prices being up a staggering $10 — the market has some business to iron out.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the day’s afternoon pork cutout value close higher given that packers ran slower processing speeds last week but closing $10.00 higher seems a little steep. Thankfully, time will tell, and if the market does hold its vast $10.00 advancement, that may be enough to encourage traders to trade higher yet again.

June lean hogs are down $0.22 at $108.50, July lean hogs are down $0.40 at $108.60 and August lean hogs are up $0.25 at $105.02.

The projected lean hog index for May 13 is down $0.01 at $110.93 and the actual index for May 12is down $0.01 at $110.94. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.47 with a weighted average of $107.64, ranging from $103.00 to $119.00 on 4,236 head and a five-day rolling average of $110.17.

Pork cutouts total 137.89 loads with 121.82 loads of pork cuts and 16.08 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up 10.08, $125.78.

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