DTN Livestock Midday: Feeder Cattle Contracts Rally Full Steam Ahead

Cattle feed lot. Photo: K-State Research and Extension - Creative Commons

The live cattle and lean hog contracts are trending lower after a weaker export report but the feeder cattle market is rallying amid weaker corn prices.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

The corn market’s $0.28 to $0.30 regression is helping aid in the feeder cattle contracts rally late in the week. Cow calf producers are hoping that this ease on input prices helps feedlots grow more aggressive in their feeder cattle quest.

July corn is down 29 3/4 cents per bushel and July soybean meal is down $2.90. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 168.67 points and NASDAQ is up 155.64 points.

LIVE CATTLE

The live cattle market has begun to slump lower through Thursday’s trade as traders aren’t rallying the futures market, and the cash cattle market sits idly. June live cattle are down $0.12 at $122.10, August live cattle are down $1.22 at $123.67 and October live cattle are down $0.70 at $129.27.

With boxed beef prices lower, it came as quite the surprise to see cash cattle prices higher let alone steady, so seeing the slight weakness through Thursday’s trade isn’t baffling given that the market wasn’t even expected to perform as well as it has over the last week. Asking prices for cattle left on showlists are around $122 plus in the South, and $195 to $197 in the North.

Throughout the week Northern live dressed cattle have sold for $193 to $197, mostly at $195 which is $4.00 higher than last week. Live cattle in the South have traded for $122 to $123, mostly at $122, which is generally $2.00 higher.

Beef net sales of 12,800 mt reported for 2021 were down 20% from the previous week and 36% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Japan (4,400 mt), China (3,600 mt) and South Korea (1,700 mt).

Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $2.92 ($326.25) and select down $1.66 ($288.30) with a movement of 61 loads (36.88 loads of choice, 12.04 loads of select, 7.44 loads of trim and 4.35 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE

The feeder cattle contracts have been relentless this past week, continuing to rally full speed ahead as the corn market makes it nearly impossible to pass up the opportunity when it’s trading $0.18 to $0.22 lower in the nearby contracts. August feeders are up $1.65 at $159.35, September feeders are up $0.95 at $160.75 and October feeders are up $0.77 at $162.07.

The market’s unwavering spirit couldn’t come at a better time as the industry is sitting through and/or watching Thursday’s feeder cattle sale with Superior’s Corn Belt Classic debut. With right at 51,000 head selling throughout the day, cattlemen will have a better sense of what the feeder cattle market could offer this fall after the sale.

LEAN HOGS

The lean hog market didn’t fare well after seeing the morning’s export report as it wasn’t only disappointing to see sales lower, but also disappointing to see that China wasn’t among one of the largest buyers.

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The market’s run of weaker pork cutout prices along side a weaker export report has traders leery of the market and they’re flat unwilling to support the market for the meantime. July lean hogs are down $4.02 at $111.47, August lean hogs are down $4.10 at $107.67 and October lean hogs are down $2.47 at $88.60.

The projected lean hog index for June 16 is down $0.91 at $121.68 and the actual index for June 15 is down $0.07 at $122.59. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Daily Hog Report, down $2.84 with a weighted average of $119.30, ranging from $114.50 to $130.00 on 4,655 head and a five-day rolling average of $118.13. Pork cutouts total 135.81 loads with 101.93 loads of pork cuts and 33.88 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $6.68, $127.20.

Pork net sales of 29,300 mt reported for 2021 were up 49% from the previous week and 8% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Mexico (19,100 mt), Japan (5,300 mt) and South Korea (2,300 mt).

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