Cattle Trying to Find Support Amid Headline Risks

Brown and white spotted cow with ear tag

Live cattle resumed the collapse on Friday, as contracts were down $1.25 to $2.77. No delivery notices were issued against April futures on Friday. Cash trade last week was reported @ $182 in the South, a $2 drop on the week, with Northern action also weaker at $293-295 in the beef (down $2-3). Feeders were also feeling the pressure, with losses of $1.37 to $3.87. The CME Feeder Cattle index on April 11th was back up 97 cents to $244.57. 

Another case of HPAI was picked up in a South Dakota dairy herd late last week, now spreading to 8 states and is likely sending more longs for the exits amid headline risks. Friday afternoon’s Commitment of Traders report confirmed the sped long exit from the last couple weeks, with managed money’s net long down a large 16,305 contracts during the week of 4/9 at 36,976 contracts.

USDA’s Wholesale Boxed Beef prices were back higher in the Friday afternoon report. Choice was up $2.20 to $300.57, with Select 39 cents higher at $295.54. That widened the Chc/Sel spread a little to $5.03. This week’s USDA estimated cattle slaughter was pegged at 603,000 through Saturday. That was a 10,000 head drop from the previous week and was down 8,000 head from the same week last year. Production was tallied at 509.8 million lbs, still 2% larger than last year on heavier carcasses.

Apr 24 Live Cattle  closed at $178.900, down $1.350,

Jun 24 Live Cattle  closed at $171.475, down $2.425,

Aug 24 Live Cattle  closed at $168.750, down $2.700,

Apr 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $237.600, down $1.575,

May 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $234.200, down $3.950,

Aug 24 Feeder Cattle  closed at $245.500, down $3.450,

On the date of publication, Alan Brugler did not have (either directly or indirectly) positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.