DTN Livestock Midday: Light Load Count, Weaker Boxed Beef Prices

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

With only 33 loads of beef cuts at midday and a projected slaughter of 117,000 head, all eyes will be on the afternoon beef reports as these volumes aren’t beneficial to the marketplace.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Traders have grown fond of both the live cattle and feeder cattle contracts throughout Friday trade and the cattle complex is delighted to see support before the weekend. Meanwhile, the lean hog contracts are coasting lower, seeming to buy themselves time until next week provides direction.

July corn is down 21 1/4 cents per bushel and July soybean meal is down $3.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 119.37 points and NASDAQ is down 1.78 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Live cattle futures aren’t rallying as aggressively as the feeder cattle contracts, but Friday’s upward push of $1.00 to $2.00 higher is allowing the June live cattle contracts to challenge the 100-day moving average ($118.71). Traders may be looking to invest before the weekend and we know that the most reliable information comes from the afternoon reports.

But seeing the thin load count on this morning’s boxed beef report is bothersome. Not only are both choice and select cuts lower, but a volume of only 33 loads is pitiful. The day’s slaughter is only projected to be around 117,000 which is inadequate to meet the market’s high demand and to ensure sufficient throughput.

The cash cattle market hasn’t seen a bit of attention as the week’s business is essentially done with. There may be some dismal clean-up trade develop here and there but it won’t likely amount to much.

Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $0.48 ($337.77) and select down $4.89 ($305.51) with a movement of 33 loads (15.05 loads of choice, 11.61 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 6.54 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Corn futures are 14 to 20 cents lower in the nearby contracts and this has granted the feeder cattle market an opportunity to rally into the weekend. August feeders are up $2.97 at $151.37, September feeders are up $2.72 at $153.62 and October feeders are up $2.40 at $155.65.

For the most part, this past week hasn’t extended the feeder cattle complex any favors as the market had to juggle back-and-forth signals from the corn sector, topping boxed beef prices and stagnant cash cattle trade. But, then again, what’s new?

LEAN HOGS:

Lean hog futures may be trading lower, but it’s not because the market lacks demand or is flush on supplies. As traders look to the weekend and look at the hog rally since the first of the year, I think we all shake our heads in disbelief. The market is settling into the July lean hog contract as the June contract is set to expire Monday, June 14.

With demand continuing to shine through the market even after the Memorial Day holiday, packers are scrounging the countryside for hogs and it’s apparent in the market’s cash spread of $25.55 that finding market-ready hogs in some regions is far harder than in others.

Nevertheless, traders will most likely let the market float throughout the rest of Friday and will look to the beginning of next week to set the market’s tone. July lean hogs are down $1.45 at $119.85, August lean hogs are down $1.92 at $116.77 and October lean hogs are down $1.17 at $96.72.

The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 6/10/2021 is up $0.95 at $120.86 and the actual index for 6/9/2021 is up $1.20 at $119.91. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $5.17 with a weighted average of $109.89, ranging from $104.45 to $130.00 on 1,580 head and a five-day rolling average of $109.75. Pork cutouts total 179.31 loads with 157.58 loads of pork cuts and 21.73 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $6.64, $140.69.

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