DTN Livestock Midday: Feedlots Push Cash Market Higher Again

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

    The live cattle market is having a strong Thursday as the market found another strong export report and some packers have upped their bids.


    It’s been another great day for feedlots as some Northern lots have gotten packers to pay $220 and others are waiting for $222 before they’ll let any cattle go. With the market finding another strong export report and seeing that packers are indeed willing to up their bids, other feedlots are willing to wait the week out to get their full asking prices.

    March corn is up 9 cents per bushel and January soybean meal is up $1.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 658.40 points and NASDAQ is up 153.55 points.


    Feedlots are grinning ear to ear as packers (in an annoyed fashion) strutted into Thursday’s trade knowing they would have to up their bids to get cattle bought this week. There’s been a light trade reported in the Northern Plains for mostly $220, which is $3.00 higher than last week’s weighted average.

    The South has yet to trade cattle as feedlots are firm in demanding $142-plus. Some Northern lots aren’t letting cattle go for anything less than $222. Trade is expected to cut loose and get serious by the day’s end but could wait until Friday as feedlots aren’t interested in letting cattle leave their lots for anything less than what they’re asking.

    Helping feedlots feel confident in their quest to get higher prices again this week was the fact that packers committed 90% of the cattle they bought last week for the nearby delivery, as well as Thursday’s strong export report which again suggests beef demand is excellent both here and abroad. December live cattle are up $1.37 at $137.35, February live cattle are up $0.67 at $139.27 and April live cattle are up $0.70 at $142.47.

    The special Fed Cattle Exchange Auction listed a total of 1,759 head, of which 1,252 actually sold, 300 were scratched from the auction and 207 head were listed as unsold, as they did not meet the reserve prices of $140. Opening prices ranged from $137 to $138, high bids ranged from $137 to $147.75.

    The state-by-state breakdown looks like this: Texas 1,618 total head, with 1,252 head sold at $140 to $140.75, 66 head went unsold and 300 were scratched from the auction; Kansas 141 total head, all of which went unsold.

    Beef net sales of 21,600 metric tons (mt) for 2021 were up 12% from the previous week and 5% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were South Korea, China, and Japan.

    Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $1.28 ($271.50) and select up $0.61 ($258.58) with a movement of 87 loads (55.85 loads of choice, 14.39 loads of select, 3.49 loads of trim and 13.12 loads of ground beef).


    The feeder cattle contracts tried to play it strong and dismiss the corn market’s rally, but once the market climbed to 8 cents higher in the nearby contracts, feeders could no longer ignore the rally despite live cattle posting a modest rally. Feeders would love nothing more than to see the live cattle complex champion another rally this week in the cash market which may be enough support to pull feeders higher as well.

    Grain News on AgFax

    Despite the slight weakness on the board Thursday morning, the demand throughout the countryside hasn’t weakened whatsoever. January feeders are down $0.47 at $165.32, March feeders are down $0.35 at $167.55 and April feeders are down $0.30 at $170.15.


    One can clearly see and understand the lean hog market’s rally as the contracts have seen ample support from the cash market and were graced with a strong export report Thursday morning that even listed China as one of the most aggressive buyers.

    But, once again, the morning pork cutout value jumped obnoxiously higher, which cautions all to wait for the afternoon’s final value before jumping and skipping into the sunset. December lean hogs are up $1.05 at $74.57, February lean hogs are up $2.12 at $82.25 and April lean hogs are up $1.40 at $86.47.

    Pork net sales of 41,400 mt for 2021 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 48% from the prior four-week average. The three largest buyers were Mexico, China and Japan.

    The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 12/1/2021 is up $0.59 at $70.86, and the actual index for 11/30/2021 is up $0.23 at $70.27. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.17 with a weighted average of $55.51, ranging from $53.50 to $61.00 on 2,470 head and a five-day rolling average of $55.31. Pork cutouts total 189.00 loads with 159.57 loads of pork cuts and 29.43 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $9.31, $91.68.

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