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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tuesday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Cutout Values Make Record-Breaking One-Day Lows While Board Closes Higher

GENERAL COMMENTS:
There's nothing more perfect than when the market trades in harmony with its different components and fundamentals ring true. But, there is nothing more maddening than when the market trades on emotion and lacks fundamental consensus. Tuesday has been one of those days.
Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.82 with a weighted average of $53.63. May corn is down 1/2 cent per bushel and May soybean meal is down $4.00. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 410.32 points and NASDAQ is down 74.05 points.
LIVE CATTLE:
The problem with volatility is irrational movements in the marketplace are extremely dangerous and, although we would hope that all decisions are meaningful and concise, they aren't.
Let's take Tuesday for example. The board closed considerably higher, cash cattle have yet to trade and boxed beef prices plummeted. Three components that weigh heavily in the cattle market that moved in three different directions. The problem is not that boxed beef prices closed lower or that the board closed higher -- the problem is that the market isn't moving in sync.
April live cattle closed $2.62 higher at $101.82, June live cattle closed $3.00 higher at $92.07 and August live cattle closed $2.97 higher at $93.60. Cash cattle have yet to trade and as of now it looks like everyone's attention is on Wednesday's Fed Cattle Exchange to see how that sale performs and to see what tone it sets for the week. Tuesday's slaughter is estimated at 119,000 head -- 4,000 head less than a week ago and 3,000 head less than a year ago.
Closing boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $7.82 ($243.15) and select down $9.18 ($228.96) with a movement of 104 loads (51.75 loads of choice, 26.21 loads of select, 8.59 loads of trim and 17.59 loads of ground beef). Oh, the records that have been broken throughout the coronavirus frenzy are wild. Just two weeks ago we were sharing record-breaking news that boxed beef prices made the largest jump in one day on March 16, 2020; now Tuesday's (today's) boxed beef prices ring the bell for a new record for the biggest one-day regression. The last time boxed beef prices fell this much in one day was on Jan. 31, 2014, when choice fell $7.26, and on Feb. 2, 2014, when select fell $5.43.
WEDNESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady. It's likely cash cattle will start to trade after the mid-morning Fed Cattle Exchange and really this week could flop either way. If feeders are aggressive and stick together, they could very well push prices higher, especially if the board trades higher again. But with lower boxed beef prices, packers aren't going to want to pay higher prices and will try to get cattle bought cheaper.
FEEDER CATTLE:
Feeder cattle contracts rebounded after the noon hour and successfully closed higher throughout the entire complex. April feeders closed $1.87 higher at $121.92, May feeders closed $2.00 higher at $122.90 and August feeders closed $1.97 higher at $128.90. At Ozark Regional Stockyard in West Plains, Missouri, steer and heifer calves under 700 pounds traded $3.00 to $7.00 higher compared to last week, while lightly tested heavier calves traded $3.00 to $6.00 lower. Lighter weight calves are easier for feeders to buy right now as they have some flexibility with where they can hedge the calves. The CME feeder cattle index 3/30/2020: down $1.47, $131.10.
LEAN HOGS:
Lean hog contracts were able to keep their support throughout the afternoon and closed higher throughout most of the complex. April lean hogs closed $1.75 lower at $52.20, June lean hogs closed $0.55 higher at $60.32 and July lean hogs closed $1.65 higher at $64.72. Pork cutouts totaled 341.11 loads with 317.08 loads of pork cuts and 24.04 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $5.67, $65.04. Tuesday's slaughter is estimated at 493,000 head -- 5,000 head less than a week ago and 18,000 head more than a year ago. The CME lean hog index 3/27/2020: down $0.90, $65.56.
WEDNESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Lower. The board had some deferred strength throughout the bulk of Tuesday's trade but support for the cash market is hard to muster this week.

#completeherdhealth

Tuesday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Lean Hogs Picking Up Interest

General Comments
As Tuesday nears the noon hour, cattle contracts hang back as interest and support seem farfetched, but the lean hog complex is starting to rally some support in deferred contracts. May corn is down 4 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $2.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 26.42 points and NASDAQ is up 17.09 points. As Tuesday nears the noon hour, cattle contracts hang back as interest and support seem farfetched, but the lean hog complex is starting to rally some support in deferred contracts.
LIVE CATTLE
Live cattle contracts are heading lower again Tuesday without a lot of interest developing anywhere in the marketplace. April live cattle are down $1.00 at $98.20, June live cattle are down $0.57 at $88.52 and August live cattle are down $0.87 at $89.75. Cash cattle trade has yet to develop, although trade could start emerging as soon as Tuesday afternoon or sometime Wednesday. Some early asking prices are starting out around $120-plus in the South, and $190-plus in the North. Wednesday's Fed Cattle Exchange hosts another large line up of fat cattle to sell. Wednesday's offering consists of 4,696 head of fats with cattle from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado and Nebraska.
Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $2.67 ($248.30) and select down $3.81 ($234.33) with a movement of 40 loads (17.02 loads of choice, 12.41 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 10.73 loads of ground beef).
FEEDER CATTLE
Feeder cattle contracts head into Tuesday with the same morale that Monday carried. April feeders are down $1.57 at $118.47, May feeders are down $2.02 at $118.87 and August feeders are down $2.22 at $124.70. Sale barns have had impressive runs of cattle this week, which should entice some buyers to look at the cattle available.
LEAN HOGS
As cattle contracts dip lower again on Tuesday, lean hog contracts are trading mildly higher with ease. April lean hogs are down $0.35 at $53.65, June lean hogs are up $0.05 at $59.90 and July lean hogs are up $0.80 at $63.87. With cattle contracts hanging back and keeping trade relatively quiet, inventors can look at the support building in deferred lean hog contracts and see potential abilities to jump in.
The projected lean hog index for 3/30/2020 is down $0.41 at $65.15 and the actual index for 3/27/2020 is down $0.90 at $65.56. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.57 with a weighted average of $53.88 ranging from $48.00 to $61.00 on 4,296 head sold and five-day rolling average of $57.53. Pork cutouts totaled 189.07 loads with 175.58 loads of pork cuts and 13.49 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.93, $68.78.

#completecalfcare

Tuesday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Market Pressure Expected as March Comes to an End

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Cash cattle activity remains quiet with limited interest from either side going into Tuesday morning. The strong rally in prices seen last week may be a limiting factor in follow-through support through the week, especially given the fact that cattle futures have significantly backed away from previous highs. The underlying pressure developing in boxed beef values is pointing to expected demand slumps as retailers seem to have caught up with the surge of buying activity seen over the last couple of weeks and significant demand erosion is likely to be seen from the food service industry. With the expectation that social distancing and "stay home orders" that are in place are being extended through the end of April, this will continue to significantly affect the amount of beef moving through the restaurant systems. Even though businesses are trying to stabilize business through drive thru, carry out and delivery services, this still is a far cry from replacing the "dine in" demand across the nation. Reports that JBS will reduce slaughter plant production due to a COVID-19 case in an Eastern U.S. plant will likely add increased pressure to live cattle futures. At this point, it is not expected that this will affect fabrication or grinding operations, and should have a limited impact on the overall daily slaughter levels, but it still may have a significant impact on futures and cash prices as this is the first indication that Coronavirus will affect production levels of beef production. Tuesday slaughter is expected at 118,000 head.
Lean hog futures set contract lows Monday in all nearby contracts except April futures. With the complex posting limit losses each of the last three trading sessions, follow-through pressure is likely to develop Tuesday morning. Expanded trading limits of $4.50 per cwt are once again available for traders on the last day of March as trades look for any sense of underlying support that would spark renewed interest into the complex. The continued pressure in pork cutout values points to the growing concern that overall pork demand will start to erode over the near future as retailers have restocked shelves and are keeping up with consumer demand. The lack of active demand in the restaurant industry is also taking its toll on overall pork movement. Although the market remains weak, the potential for buyer support still does exist as traders may view current positions as long-term buying opportunities, but first the market has to break out of the sharply lower market shift in order for buyers to feel comfortable jumping back into the market. Cash hog prices are called steady to $1 lower with most bids expected $1 per cwt lower. Slaughter Tuesday is expected at 495,000 head.
BULL SIDEBEAR SIDE
1)Cash cattle market basis levels still remain with recent cash market prices listed $30 per cwt over the most active June contract. This remains the largest basis levels in nearly two decades.1)Active pressure is starting to slowly but steadily develop in boxed beef prices. This could further weaken the overall futures and cash values as the ability to sell beef following the recent gains may be limited.
2)The ability to spark renewed buyer support in deferred live cattle trade Monday is pointing to a sense of renewed market stability seen through the complex. This could help to limit the recent losses creating a path for buying interest over the coming days.2)The potential that packing plant slowdowns, or shutdowns due to increased coronavirus levels could once again bring increased pressure into the market as traders focus on the inability to keep cattle supplies current in the upcoming weeks.
3)Limited bullish market support is seen in the lean hog futures market, but traders continue to focus on longer-term demand for pork. This is putting less pressure on deferred contracts, helping to focus on potential market gains later in the year.3)With expanded trading limits in place for the third-consecutive day, it is concerning to think that for the short term, such a weaker trend is becoming a significant pattern through the complex. This could lead to further liquidation in the coming days.
4)The depressed lean hog futures complex remains an excellent buy opportunity for investors wanting to step into a market, which is expected to be at or near the bottom. Buying at these levels with expected long-term demand likely could be an excellent investment opportunity.4)Pork cutout values have continued to quickly erode as the ability to move pork product at retail locations is starting to slow. This may add increased underlying pressure to a market with increasing supply levels over the near future.




#completeherdhealth

Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Cattle Close Mixed, Hogs Close Substantially Lower

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Hog prices took the brunt of Monday's arrival and cattle contracts were able to skate mixed in live cattle contracts and only slightly lower in feeder cattle contracts. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.77 with a weighted average of $58.07. May corn is down 4 3/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $2.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 690.70 points and NASDAQ is up 271.77 points.
LIVE CATTLE:
Monday's board comes as a mixed signal. Yes, it's always positive when the contracts close higher, but given that the spot April contract is still a long ways from the cash market, and is still trading lower, doesn't leave warm and fuzzy feelings in the marketplace. April live cattle closed $1.75 lower at $99.20, June live cattle closed $0.35 lower at $89.07 and August live cattle closed $0.17 higher at $90.62. Cash cattle trade was quiet as feeders haven't listed their asking prices yet and packers aren't overly aggressive as they see the board trade lower. New showlists appear to be mixed, higher in Texas, but lower in Kansas and Nebraska/Colorado.
Boxed beef cutouts are lower: choice down $1.87 ($250.97) and select down $4.24 ($238.14) with a movement of 151 loads (86.36 loads of choice, 18.13 loads of select, 29.19 loads of trim and 16.94 loads of ground beef). Monday's slaughter is estimated at 120,000 head, 4,000 head more than a week ago and 2,000 head more than a year ago.
TUESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Lower. Packers paid more than what they would have liked to last week, and seeing their interest in slaughter cows and bulls leads one to think that they are sitting flush on inventory. At Blue Grass Stockyards in Stanford, Kentucky, slaughter bulls and cows were $4.00 to $6.00 lower, and in Worthing, South Dakota, slaughter cows were $10.0 to $13.00 lower.
FEEDER CATTLE:
Feeder cattle contracts closed lower, but thankfully only on a slightly lower note. April feeder cattle closed $0.55 lower at $120.05, May feeder cattle closed $0.02 lower at $120.90 and August feeder cattle closed $0.17 lower at $126.92. At Joplin Regional Stockyards, 7,000 head of feeder cattle are selling, and amid the mid-sale report steer and heifer calves are selling $3.00 to $6.00 lower, and yearlings are steady to $6.00 lower. Given that there is still an abundance of uncertainty in the marketplace and that Monday's board closed lower, it isn't surprising that feeder cattle prices are lower. However, on the bright side, producers are marketing more cattle this week as sale barns note larger runs and load lots available, making it easier for buyers to put together pens of cattle. The CME feeder cattle index 3/27/2020: up $2.13, $132.77.
LEAN HOGS:
Lean hog contracts took the biggest losses Monday as several nearby contracts closed limit lower and deferred contracts weren't far from it either. April lean hogs closed $4.50 lower at $53.95, June lean hogs closed $4.47 lower at $59.77 and July lean hogs closed $3.72 lower at $63.07. The lean hog complex struggles as limit losses are becoming more and more of the market's norm. in the June 2020 contract last Thursday closed $3.00 lower, last Friday closed $4.50 lower and Monday closed just shy of limit lower again at $4.47 lower. Pork cutouts totaled 387.98 loads with 346.98 loads of pork cuts and 41.00 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $3.08, $70.71. Monday's harvest is estimated at 491,000 head, 6,000 head less than a week ago and 16,000 head more than a year ago. The CME lean hog index 3/26/2020: up $0.29, $66.46.
TUESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Lower. Seeing that the complex is struggling to keep any support within the marketplace doesn't set cash trade up for higher trading on Tuesday.


#completeherdhealth

Midday Livestock Market Summary - Unenthusiastic Monday

General Comments
As contracts near the noon hour the entire livestock complex trades lower without a whole lot energy circulating throughout the market. Traders seem leery of jumping into a marketplace without a sure consensus of where prices are headed and find it safer to sit out until a clear direction is established. May corn is down 5 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $1.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 478.65 points and NASDAQ is up 208.09 points.
LIVE CATTLE
Live cattle contracts have stuck with the rest of the complex and have traded mostly uneventfully Monday morning. Live cattle contracts flirted with the idea of trading higher midmorning but quickly dropped back to lower levels and continue to trade there heading into the noon hour. April live cattle are down $1.10 at $99.85, June live cattle are down $1.15 at $88.27 and August live cattle are down $1.22 at $89.22. Cash cattle trade has yet to develop with both feeders and packers very quiet Monday morning. New showlists appear to be mixed, higher in Texas, but lower in Kansas and Nebraska/Colorado.
Boxed beef cutouts are lower: choice down $1.71 ($251.13) and select down $3.86 ($238.52) with a movement of 113 loads (68.75 loads of choice, 11.12 loads of select, 26.52 loads of trim and 6.61 loads of ground beef).
FEEDER CATTLE
Feeder cattle contracts started the day out lower, contemplated trading higher with the live cattle contracts but then quickly sank lower as pressure grew. April live cattle are down $1.70 at $118.90, May feeders are down $1.42 at $119.50 and August feeders are down $1.60 at $125.50. Sale barns try to navigate through these times like everyone else; trying to balance the worry of if will the week be lower, or will producers trudge through and market their calves regardless?
LEAN HOGS
The lean hog market is taking the biggest hit to Monday's arrival as contracts fall $1.10 to $3.65 lower. April lean hogs are down $3.22 at $5.20, June lean hogs are down $4.10 at $60.20 and July lean hogs are down $3.00 at $63.77. Given the number of hogs that sold Monday morning, it's disappointing that the cash market was able to at least maintain steady prices if not gain a little ground with demand being as lofty as it is.
The projected lean hog index for 3/27/2020 is down $0.93 at $65.53, and the actual for 3/26/2020 is up $0.29 at $66.46. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.13 with a weighted average of $58.71 ranging from $52.00 to $62.50 on 11.226 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $58.41. Pork cutouts total 244.70 loads with 222.37 loads of pork cuts and 22.33 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.46, $72.33.

#completeherdhealth

Monday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Livestock Markets Struggle to Find Renewed Buyer Support

GENERAL COMMENTS:
The wild surge in cash cattle prices last week is expected to create a sense of hope that renewed interest will quickly move back into the complex. The tone of cash cattle markets last week were set before the strong pullback in futures trade. With markets well off long-term lows set during the middle of March, the focus on rebuilding long-term support and a continued need to keep packer lines active in order to meet current demand is expected to keep feedlot managers optimistic through the first few days of the week. Bids are unlikely on Monday with the focus on inventory and showlist distribution the main priority through most of the day Monday. The general tone of the cash market last week posted live prices in the South gaining $9 to $10 per cwt, while dressed business in the North was mostly $17 per cwt higher. The limit losses at the end of the week not only heavily impacted cattle trade, but quickly sent a message through all livestock futures that unchecked gains from the previous week would not last. Even though it is likely that support levels set during the middle of the month are not in danger, there are growing concerns that overall meat demand may not continue at the aggressive pace in March when retailers were scrambling to keep product on shelves. The expansion of coronavirus cases in the U.S. over the weekend has been incredible, creating even more concern that this will heavily impact consumer activity over the long term, not to mention the food service industry, which has essentially been brought to its knees through the virus pandemic. Expanded trading limits are available in all cattle markets with live cattle once again able to move $4.50 per cwt in either direction before markets are halted, while feeder cattle futures are limited to a $6.75 per cwt market move. The potential of firm buying support in outside markets could quickly cause moderate short-covering to move back into the cattle complex through morning Monday, but this support could be slow to develop. Monday slaughter is expected at 121,000 head.
Lean hog futures are stuck in a reactionary mode as traders count the days until the end of March. The month of March will go on record as one of the most volatile trading months in recent history, with prices swinging back and forth from $53 to $66 per cwt as overall consumer demand changes have impacted overall market direction the last four weeks. Hog markets will continue to be impacted as more and more "stay home orders" take place throughout the country. Retail locations seem to have regained inventory control of most meat supplies, but now the concern is about how much overall demand will be lost due to scaled back Easter plans and limited demand in the food service sector in the next few weeks. This will likely have a significant impact on the higher values meat cuts, limiting overall carcass values. Cash hog prices are called $1 lower to $1 higher with most bids expected steady to $1 per cwt lower. Slaughter Monday is expected at 496,000 head.
BULL SIDEBEAR SIDE
1)Sharp gains in cash cattle trade last week will create hope that follow-through support can develop as the volatility in futures trade stabilizes the next couple of days.1)Open interest in cattle futures continues to erode through the month of March. Even though strong price support returned the last couple of weeks, continued liquidation in the market has developed. This is causing concern as higher prices typically cause open interest to quickly rebound, but so far this has not been the case.
2)Despite the pullback in futures trade at the end of last week, wholesale beef values have held onto support extremely well. The continued surge in retail demand the last couple of weeks continues to move product off store shelves at a rapid rate.2)April live cattle futures have lost $7.50 per cwt over the past two trading sessions with expanded limits creating the potential for additional wide losses to redevelop Monday. The inability to hold midweek highs is causing significant concern about short-term market direction.
3)Strong pork demand continues in late March. It is expected that with more families home and confined from traveling, there will be increased focus on smaller but more Easter celebrations, which is likely to spark additional ham buying activity in the upcoming days.3)Sharp losses developed in pork cutout values late last week, causing concern that additional meat value erosion may continue to develop through the end of the month. The inability to continue to actively move pork supplies through early April could significantly damage previous support built the last couple of weeks.
4)Long-term support in nearby lean hog futures is safe for now, despite the strong pressure in futures trade late last week. This could continue to limit further liquidation through early April as noncommercial traders look for investment opportunities.4)Expanded trading limits are available in lean hog futures trade for the second consecutive trading session. This may put additional pressure on lightly traded nearby April and May contracts, which continue to trade at a significant discount to the most active June contract.






#completecalfcare


Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Livestock Contracts Head Into the Weekend Disappointed

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Heading into the weekend doesn't leave livestock enthusiasts many warm and fuzzy feelings as the board closed sharply lower and the havoc of the coronavirus doesn't seem to be lessening. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.77 with a weighted average of $58.07. May corn is down 2 3/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $0.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 493.99 points and NASDAQ is down 151.46 points.
From Friday to Friday, livestock futures scored the following changes: April live cattle up $2.30, June live cattle down $0.10; April feeder cattle down $0.12, May feeder cattle up $2.68; April lean hogs down $3.13, June lean hogs down $3.70.

LIVE CATTLE:
The market's swings throughout the whirlwind of the coronavirus have been baffling. Last week boxed beef prices and cash prices couldn't have been anymore of polar opposites as boxed beef prices made historical leaps and the live cattle market closed limit lower multiple times throughout the week. Fast forward to this last week, the board charged into Monday with ambition and a desire to regain lost ground, cash cattle prices jumped $10.00 but then board gave way towards the later part of the week and ultimately fell back below Monday's open. These types of market swings are a cattleman's worse nightmare as they undermine how the market was intended to work.

Live cattle contracts closed the week on a disappointing note as the market fell to prices lower than Monday's initial open. April live cattle closed $4.50 lower at $100.95, June live cattle closed $4.12 lower at $89.42 and August live cattle closed $4.02 at $90.45. Driving support and interest seems to be half of the market's struggles as open interest continues to dwindle and prices follow the vicious, volatile highs and lows.

Friday's cash cattle trade didn't amount to much as most of the week's business was already taken care of. Sales this week in the South traded $116 to $122, $9.00 to $10.00 higher than the previous week. And cattle in the North traded from $180 to $191, roughly $17 higher than last week's weighted average. Friday's slaughter is estimated at 117,000 head, 8,000 head more than a week ago and 10,000 head more than year ago. Saturday's kill is projected to be around 75,000 head.

Boxed beef prices closed mixed: choice down $0.73 ($252.84) and select up $0.21 ($242.38) with a movement of 124 loads (72.72 loads of choice, 10.68 loads of select, 19.30 loads of trim and 21.38 loads of ground beef).

MONDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Good guess. Next week is going to be a tough one. Cash cattle prices were higher this week, but if the board continues to trade lower, it wouldn't be surprising to see this week's advancements lost.

FEEDER CATTLE:
Feeder cattle contracts closed the week limit lower throughout the entire complex. April feeders closed $4.50 lower at $120.60, May feeders closed $4.50 lower at $120.92 and August feeders closed $4.50 lower at $127.10. At Blue Grass Stockyards in Stanford, Kentucky, compared to last week, feeder steers sold $10.00 to $15.00 higher with some instances of $20.00 higher. Feeder heifers sold $7.00 to $10.00 higher with some instances of $15.00 higher. Slaughter cattle continue to sell with extremely high demand as slaughter cows sold $3.00 to $5.00 higher and slaughter bulls sold $2.00 to $4.00 higher. The CME feeder cattle index 3/26/2020: up $1.94, $130.44.

LEAN HOGS:
Nearby lean hog contracts took full use of the expanded limits while the rest of the deferred contracts closed $2.32 to $3.80 lower. April lean hogs closed $4.45 lower at $58.45, June lean hogs closed $4.50 lower at $64.25 and July lean hogs closed $3.80 lower at $66.80. Pork cutouts total 339.93 loads with 306.22 loads of pork cuts and 33.71 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.42, $77.61. Friday's kill is estimated at 489,000 head, 1,000 head less than last week but 25,000 head more than a year ago. Saturday's kill is expected to be around 275,000 head. The CME lean hogs index 3/25/2020: up $1.02, $66.17.


MONDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. With packers needing readily available hogs, the cash market should stay steady with demand as strong as it is.


#completeherdhealth

Friday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Closing the Week Lower

General Comments

Upon the noon hour livestock contracts have kept with either earlier pace of slowly trading lower. It's becoming apparent that as the week wraps up, traders aren't interested in jumping into the marketplace until there is some more vision and clarity. May corn is down 4 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $1.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 737.37 points and NASDAQ is down 241.84 points.

LIVE CATTLE
Live cattle prices bear lower into the noon hour as the week is seeming to want to wrap up all aspects of business. April live cattle are down $4.15 at $101.30, June live cattle are down $3.95 at $89.60 and August live cattle are down $3.55 at $90.92. Disappointingly the week has ended up trading lower after Wednesday despite the beginning of the week having significant support. Packer inquiry is sparse heading into the midday and at this point it's safe to say cash cattle business is essentially done as well.

Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $1.46 ($252.11) and select is down $0.56 ($241.61) with a movement of 99 loads (56.50 loads of choice, 8.22 loads of select, 15.37 loads of trim and 19.37 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE
Feeder cattle contracts dip to limit losses in a slew of nearby contracts and deferred contracts are only roughly 20 cents behind. As the week nears its end traders are checked out for the week and aren't looking to invest while the market is still engulfed in uncertainty. April feeders are down $4.50 at $120.60, May feeders are down $4.50 at $120.92 and August feeders are down $4.50 at $127.10. On the bright side, the country has been blessed with phenomenal weather which is making springtime sales easier than many had planned for, and cattle are converting like crazy with sunny days and cooler nights.

LEAN HOGS
Lean hog contracts follow suit and head substantially lower. Nearby contracts are suffering more than deferred contracts but the entire complex is trading steadily $2.00 to $4.50 lower. April lean hogs are down $3.80 at $59.10, June lean hogs are down $4.50 at $64.25 and July lean hogs are down $4.00 at $66.62.


The projected lean hog index for 3/26/2020 is up $0.26 at $66.46, and the actual index for 3/25/2020 is up $1.05 at $66.17. Morning hog prices are delayed due to packer submission problems. Pork cutouts total 170.60 loads with 149.03 loads of pork cuts and 21.57 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $2.85, $74.76.

#completeherdhealth

Friday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Weaker Livestock Markets Expected Early

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Cash cattle sales are expected to have wrapped up for the most part, although there could be a few deals trickling into the market Friday as feeders try to take advantage of the market gains from earlier in the week. It will be interesting to see if packers will even float bids Friday, or wait to see what the next few market days have in store before they are back in the market. Given the early-week bullishness in all segments of the market, the focus on sustaining this momentum will be the main priority next week. Futures trade is expected to remain weak with live cattle futures expected to be the main focus early Friday morning following sharp triple-digit losses that flooded the market Thursday. With lightly traded April contracts posting limit losses Thursday afternoon, expanded trading limits are available for all live cattle futures. Feeder cattle futures still have normal trading limits of $4.50 per cwt as nearby contracts did not close limit lower Thursday. But the underlying pressure through the end of the week could spark some significant concerns through all cattle trade as traders look for renewed support in beef values going into the weekend. More focus is being placed on the stability of retail demand in the near future that most of the panic buying by consumers and hoarding seems to have slowed in most areas. This is still expected to keep packers actively killing cattle, but the focus on upcoming demand over the next two to four weeks is likely to have a significant role in cattle futures prices in the near future. Friday slaughter is expected at 120,000 head.

Lean hog futures posted limit losses in May through August futures contracts, creating significant questions about the ability to maintain market momentum, which quickly developed through the last week. Although lightly traded, the April contract still is holding the majority of weekly gains, which could help to limit further pressure Friday. Growing questions are developing in summer and fall contracts about the ability to maintain underlying support in lean hog futures due to continued strong production and growing questions about domestic and export demand through the upcoming months. Lean hog futures will now have access to expanded trading limits, which may spark underlying concerns with limits moving to $4.50 per cwt during the Friday session. A strong move lower at the end of the week would significantly damage any momentum built in meat markets the last several days. The quarterly Hogs and Pigs report gave us little that we didn't know before. The fact that overall production remains strong and is expected to remain that way through most of the summer and early fall is likely to limit upside movement in lean hog prices based on ample pork supplies available to the market. Cash hog prices are called $1 lower to $1 higher with most bids expected steady. Slaughter Friday is expected at 491,000 head. Saturday runs are expected at 273,000 head.


BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1) Strong double-digit gains in cash cattle trade earlier in the week is expected to help bring some much needed stability to the cattle complex through the end of the month. The potential to focus on steady-to-firm cash cattle trade during early April may quickly redevelop if futures trade is able to stabilize going into the weekend. 1) Sharp losses in live cattle and feeder cattle brought the market back to the stark reality that the market volatility, which pushed prices higher over the last week, can quickly turn. Further significant weakness during the Friday session could lead to additional strong liquidation in the market as traders remain concerned about the sustained demand pressure due to growing unemployment levels.
2) Active beef product movements are still seen in most areas of the country as consumers have offset buying previously done at restaurants with home produced meals. The continued strength in meat demand is likely to limit further aggressive selling over the upcoming days and weeks. 2) Boxed beef values have eroded the last two days, creating uncertainty through the entire market and some to wonder if a major adjustment lower may develop in the near future as meat availability gets back to normal over the days and weeks ahead.
3) Hog expansion is expected to end through the summer months with expected farrowing in the June through August timeframe pegged at 96%. This could slowly but significantly tighten overall supply levels by the end of the year. 3) Hog production grew 4% over the last year, with 77.6 million hogs as of March 1. This continued strong supply levels will continue to add pressure to lean hog prices over the weeks and months to come.
4) Despite all of the coronavirus issues, strong underlying retail demand for pork continues. This is expected to limit aggressive pressure in pork cutout values in the near future. 4) Firm pressure once again developed in pork cutout values Thursday. This is causing increased concerns of eroding domestic pork demand at a time when typically strong pork buying is done ahead of the Easter holiday. With large gatherings for Easter on hold due to "social distancing" measures, it is uncertain how significantly pork demand will be impacted. 


#completeherdhealth

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thursday Closing Livestock Market Summary - The Board Closes Lower

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Thursday has come and gone, and after a couple of higher trading days, the board closed lower in all three livestock markets. Hog prices closed lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.12 with a weighted average of $58.89. May corn is up 1/4 cent per bushel and May soybean meal is up $1.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1,351.62 points and NASDAQ is up 413.24 points.
LIVE CATTLE:
Live cattle contracts followed suit with the rest of the complex and closed fully lower. April live cattle closed $3.00 lower at $105.45, June live cattle closed $2.77 lower at $93.55 and August live cattle closed $2.70 lower at $94.47. Thankfully the bulk of this week's cash cattle trade happened before the board weakened and it looks like the majority of this week's trade is done. There was another light round of trade in parts of the North for steady/slightly lower prices than Wednesday's trade.
Boxed beef prices close lower: choice down $1.73 ($253.57) and select down $0.92 ($242.17) with a movement of 111 loads (43.85 loads of choice, 38.61 loads of select, 7.66 loads of trim and 20.88 loads of ground beef). Thursday's slaughter is estimated at 123,000 head, 8,000 head more than a week ago and 5,000 head more than a year ago.
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady. Seeing that the bulk of the week's trade is done, cattle that are left to sell will most likely trade within the already established prices for the week.
FEEDER CATTLE:
Feeder cattle contracts pushed close to hitting the day's limit but only closed limit lower in the deferred; the January 2021 contract, all other contracts closed $3.25 to $4.27 lower. April feeders closed $3.62 loads at $125.10, May feeders closed $3.67 lower at $125.42 and August feeders closed $3.50 lower at $131.60. And despite the feeder cattle board being significantly lower, sale barns have sold on and have continued to have great sales following last week's weaker market. At Winter Livestock in Pratt, Kansas, compared to last week, feeder steers sold mostly $8.00 to $10.00 higher with instances of $14.00 to $18.00 higher. Heifers sold mostly $2.00 to $3.00 higher. The CME feeder cattle index 3/25/2020: up $5.06, $128.50.
LEAN HOGS:
Thursday ended up being a big headline day for the lean hog market as the weekly export report showed phenomenal pork demand and the quarterly USDA hogs and pigs report was shared. The board; however, closed limit lower in a handful of contracts as mustering-up support for the livestock contracts continues to be an issue affecting prices. April lean hogs are down $2.95 at $62.90, June lean hogs are down $3.00 at $68.75 and July lean hogs are down $3.00 at $70.60. Pork cutouts totaled 339.93 loads with 306.22 loads of pork cuts and 33.71 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.42, $77.61. Thursday's slaughter is estimated at 497,000 head - 3,000 head more than a week ago and 12,000 head more than a year ago. The CME lean hog index 3/24/2020: up $1.14, $65.12.
The hogs and pigs report shared that the all hogs sector was up 4% from 2019, hogs kept for breeding was steady with 2019 figures and hogs kept for marketing was up 4% as well. The big take away from the report was that the industry hasn't seen this many hogs around the countryside since the late 1990s. It will be crucial for the hog industry to continue to export and harvest at vigorous speeds. It's fairly safe to assume that amid the COVID-19 storm, demand and packer productivity will stay elevated. But the real question is how will producers manage their herds knowing China is rebuilding its herd and demand domestically and internally could change once the COVID-19 virus has run its course.
Pork net sales of 38,600 were reported for 2020 which was up 8% from the previous week and up 89% from the prior four-week average. The three largest increases were from Mexico (11,100 mt) China (9,500 mt) and Japan (9,400 mt).
FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. Seeing that the board is lower, and the pressure is limiting how the market excel will affect the moral of the marketplace. However, packers are processing hogs are rapid speeds and will need to continue to do so -- so they aren't going to be able to step back and not buy.

#completecalfcare

Thursday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Contracts Dabble Lower

General Comments
The livestock complex heads into the noon hour trading completely lower where cattle contracts are down $2.00 to $3.00, and the lean hog complex trades comfortably around $2.00 lower. One the troubles the market is facing is finding and keeping long-term support. Traders aren't comfortable with the market just yet and have gotten accustomed to stepping out when pressured to commit to long-term commitments. May corn is down 3 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up $0.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1,047.57 points and NASDAQ is up 272.12 points.
LIVE CATTLE
Livestock contracts bear lower heading into the noon hour with support being a hard factor to find amongst traders. April live cattle are down $2.62 at $105.85, June live cattle are down $2.47 at $93.85 and August live cattle are down $2.32 at $94.85. On the bright side the attitude of this week's cash trade was set when the board was higher which helped bolster prices. The country is quiet at midday following Wednesday's moderate to active business in most areas, live trade was at $119 to $120, about $10 higher than last week's weighted average basis the South. Dressed deals were at mostly $190 with a few up to $190.50, roughly $17 higher basis Nebraska. Asking prices today are around $122 to $125 on a live basis, and $190 to $192 dressed.
Boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $1.86 ($253.44) and select down $0.65 ($242.44) with a movement of 73 loads (24.57 loads of choice, 34.35 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 14.02 loads of ground beef).
FEEDER CATTLE
Feeder cattle contacts dip lower following Wednesday's softer close. April feeders are down $2.32 at $126.35, May feeders are down $3.05 at $126.05 and August feeders are down $3.17 at $131.92. Even though the board heads lower into the Thursday afternoon, with the weather being exceptional and green grass being right around the corner, interest at sale barns is expected to only grow as we head further and further into spring.
LEAN HOGS
Lean hog contracts trade $1.00 to $2.75 lower into Thursday's noon hour. April lean hogs are down $2.10 at $63.75, June lean hogs are down $2.67 lower at $69.07 and July lean hogs are down $2.52 at $71.07. As the day progresses there are a couple of things that hog enthusiasts are watching closely. First is Thursday afternoon's hog and pig report which is anticipated to be 3.5% over year-ago levels. Whenever levels are larger; and upwards of 3%, and abundance of supply becomes a concern. But one thing that remains positive is pork sales. Pork net sales of 38,600 were reported for 2020 which was up 8% from the previous week and up 89% from the prior four-week average. The three largest increases were from Mexico (11,100 mt) China (9,500 mt) and Japan (9,400 mt).
The projected lean hog index for 3/24/2020 is up $1.14 at $65.12, and the actual index for 3/23/2020 is up $0.80 at $63.98. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.16 with a weighted average of $59.17, ranging from $55.00 to $62.50 on 9,728 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $57.95. Pork cutouts total 196.22 loads with 171.01 loads of pork cuts and 25.20 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.31, $78.72.


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Thursday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Livestock Market Pressure Likely Early

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Cash cattle activity made great strides Wednesday with light-to-moderate trade developing across most areas of cash cattle country. Cash prices appear to be settling into a range that may contain the majority of activity through the end of the week. Southern live business is at mostly $120 per cwt, $10 higher than last week's price levels, while Northern dressed trade is at $190 per cwt. This is a $17 per cwt rally from last week's weighted average, and will likely add additional support to the overall market through the rest of the week. Even with additional trade developing through the end of the week, it is uncertain if price levels will deviate from current ranges, which could limit additional short-term support the rest of the week. Futures trade is expected mixed to mostly lower. The ability for April live cattle futures to gains Wednesday despite pressure in all other contracts continues to focus on traders rolling contracts to the June contracts, which are trading at a significant discount ($12 per cwt) to the spot contract. There is growing concern about longer-term meat demand and the current retail support, especially in the ground beef market, sustaining the current beef market support. Thursday slaughter is expected at 122,000 head.
Firm pressure in lean hog futures Wednesday and the swift move lower in pork cutout values is adding additional weakness to the entire lean hog complex Thursday morning. Although traders are expected to focus on news from the weekly Export Sales report Thursday morning as well as expectations from the quarterly Hogs and Pigs report released after trade closes Thursday, the building pressure in outside markets and opportunities to further adjust positions following the intense market rally over the past week could leave prices unsupported. At this point, overall market emotion seems to be in check, which could limit downward pressure as traders look for new and fresh fundamental and technical direction and news in the complex. Cash hog prices are called 50 cents lower to $2 higher with most bids expected steady to $1 cents higher. Slaughter Thursday is expected at 495,000 head. Saturday runs are expected at 273,000 head.
BULL SIDEBEAR SIDE
1)April live cattle futures have rallied $16.60 per cwt over the last week, sparked by incredible support in wholesale beef values. The ability to try to catch up with consumer beef demand, which has surged over the last couple of weeks, has regained most of its losses during the month of March.1)Boxed beef values shifted lower Wednesday, potentially limiting the incredible run higher over the last week and a half. Further erosion of wholesale beef values will quickly put in question the ability to hold current market values through the complex.
2)Strong double-digit gains are quickly flooding into cash cattle markets with live cattle in the South posting a $10 per cwt rally from last week, while dressed cattle are holding $17 per cwt gains. This underlying support in the market is likely to bring additional support leading into the month of April, as the period of panic liquidation surrounding COVID-19 seems to be ending.2)Meat cases at retail locations around the nation are being constantly restocked. It is uncertain just how active daily buying will be over the near future once the surge of market activity passes. It will take additional days and weeks to catch up with the new pattern of buying seen through the nation, which could add increased volatility into wholesale and retail prices.
3)Despite a pullback in futures prices Wednesday, the lean hog futures complex is still trading higher than before the March price tumble, earning back all of early-month losses. This renewed support and expectations that additional meat demand will continue is helping to bring support to the complex.3)Strong triple-digit pressure in pork cutout values Wednesday added to overall long-term market support. If prices continue to erode through the end of the week, the recent bullish futures market interest is likely to quickly erode.
4)Traders will be closely watching the morning release of weekly Export Sales reports Thursday morning. New export sales and deliveries to China last week will be the main focus, and a sizable gain could rekindle support through the entire complex.4)The afternoon release of the quarterly Hogs and Pigs report is expected to point out strong year-over-year inventory gains as the expansion seen over the last year building up to expected strong China pork demand continues to push more hogs through the system. This is expected to continue through spring and summer months.


#completecalfcare