Today’s Livestock Market Update

by Jennifer Stanton
DTN Reports:

Heading into Friday’s trade, be prepared for the afternoon’s Cattle on Feed report and watch for any cash cattle trade that develops.


The live cattle complex had aspirations to trade substantially higher throughout Thursday’s trade, but unfortunately, the market lacked enough support. to do so. What was interesting to note was the spot June contract’s behavior. The market traded higher and lower throughout the day but closed mostly steady as traders weren’t willing to go up against the market’s resistance at $175.50, which is close to where the market’s 100-day moving average is trading. This will remain key to watch as a close above the moving average will signal bullishness. Unfortunately, throughout Thursday’s trade, the market didn’t possess enough gusto to accomplish that feat with boxed beef prices trending lower and processing speeds lagging.

June live cattle closed $0.05 higher at $175.37, August live cattle closed $0.75 higher at $173.52 and October live cattle closed $1 higher at $176.72. No cash cattle trade developed throughout the day, although bids were offered in the South at $180 and the North at $290 to $291. Given that packers’ bids were far below asking prices ($184 to $185 in the South and $295-plus in the North), feedlots weren’t keen on trading cattle too early.

The month’s Cattle on Feed report will be released tomorrow afternoon — total on-feed numbers are expected to be higher with placements and marketings lower. Thursday’s slaughter is estimated at 118,000 head — 6,000 head less than a week ago and 10,000 head less than a year ago.

Boxed beef prices closed lower: choice down $1.01 ($295.80) and select down $1.61 ($289.27) with a movement of 143 loads (108.40 loads of choice, 14.69 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 19.56 loads of ground beef).


Steady to somewhat lower. Even though the futures complex wants to trade higher, it’s still unlikely that feedlots can get cattle moved higher this week as packers have slowly built supply up around them.


There’s an old market saying, “feeders are leaders,” and there was a change of roles between live and feeder cattle contracts on Thursday’s afternoon. Earlier this week, the feeder cattle complex traded in the live cattle market’s shadow — unwilling to do anything without the go-ahead or support of the live cattle contracts. But during the afternoon, the live cattle market’s support grew thinner while support for the feeder cattle market became bolder.

I believe the feeder cattle market’s strength stems from the recent moisture across parts of cow-calf country. We can’t overlook the continued strong support of feeder cattle sales in the countryside.

May feeders closed $2.27 higher at $242.55, August feeders closed $2.17 higher at $254.30 and September feeders closed $1.92 higher at $255.30. At Torrington Livestock Auction in Torrington, Wyoming, compared to last week, feeder steers and heifers traded $3 to $8 higher. The sale noted that internet bidding on grass-type cattle was especially strong. The start of green grass and good moisture in the area is keeping the market strong. The feeder cattle supply over 600 pounds was 53%. The CME feeder cattle index April 17: up $0.27, $242.63.

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What are cattle Packer margins currently?

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