DTN Early Word Opening Livestock

Cattle Futures Staged for Mixed Opening

John Harrington
By  John Harrington , DTN Livestock Analyst
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(DTN file photo)

Cattle: Cash Steady Futures Mixed Live Equiv $132.87 - .99*

Hogs: Cash Steady Futures Mixed Lean Equiv $82.58 + .80**

* based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue

** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue

GENERAL COMMENTS:

The cash cattle market has entered the eleventh hour withË™ no business yet on the books. Look for moderate trade volume to develop before buyers break for the weekend, but possibly not until late this afternoon. Opening bids should start out around $115 to $116 live and $186 dressed. Asking prices should be restated around $119 to $120 in the South and $190-plus in the North. Live and feeder futures seem set to open on a mixed basis as specs and commercials jockey ahead of the development of cash news.

The cash hog trade should begin with basically steady bids. Thursday's country run was a bit on the light side. Furthermore, some believe carcass value is close to finding greater stability (i.e., if only hams and bellies can soon find bottoms). Finally, some packers still need to put a few more numbers toward large Saturday kill plans around 245,000 head or better. Lean futures are also likely to open with uneven price action with nearbys probably losing some ground to deferreds.

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BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1) Live futures managed a moderate recovery on Thursday with spot December climbing back toward last week's 5-area steer average of $117.46. Though the board remains at a discount, the perception of a weakening basis should help gird country leverage. 1) Beef cut-outs took another hit Thursday with the choice and select box sagging another $1.44 and $1.33, respectively. This could make packers tougher to deal with in terms of late-week procurement.
2) Though cattle carcass weights were mixed for the week ended December 2 (i.e., steers off 1 pound at 903, heifers up 1 at 841), we are near, if not past, the seasonal top. The next big turn is toward lighter cattle. 2) Knowing that the last two weeks of December ahead could be complicated as slaughter schedules skate around Christmas and New Years, some feedlot managers may be more eager to sell today than bulls would like to see, especially if they can score an average basis (i.e., near par).
3) The pork carcass value managed to bounce moderately higher Thursday, supported by better demand for fresh cuts as well as ribs and picnics. 3) The premium status of new spot February lean futures may have difficulty, at least initially, in attracting new spec buying interest. Indeed, that task could be tough until we have more evidence of a cash hog bottom.
4) Even though new spot Feb hogs start out this morning at a $3 premium to the cash index, the structure of the market remains positive as February is trading at a fairly typical premium to cash at the moment. 4) With holiday needs covered, ham and belly demand is expected to struggle through the end of the year. Although the pork cut-out recovered somewhat on Thursday, the ham (off $1.63) and belly (off $1.43) primals continue to constitute a major drag on the composite.

OTHER MARKET SENSITIVE NEWS
CATTLE:

(foodmarket.com) -- The National Cattlemen's Beef Association recently introduced phase two of its relaunch of its iconic "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" brand with digital ads and video recipes.

Stumped on what to serve this holiday season? The National Cattlemen's Beef Association hopes Americans will choose beef, especially after they view the new digital ads and video recipes that are part of its "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" brand relaunch.

"Our research shows the most important characteristic when choosing whether to have beef is taste, and 92 percent of consumers say that beef is great tasting," said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president, global marketing and research at NCBA, a contractor to the beef checkoff, in a press release. "So, as part of our continued relaunch of the Beef. It's What's for Dinner brand, we are highlighting beef's taste advantage through a series of digital ads and content partnerships offering tips on how to make mouthwatering meals and dishes that are sure to please everyone."

These digital advertisements, which will run through January, are being delivered through paid search advertising on Facebook and Instagram, as well as through content partnerships with bloggers and websites, such as Food52. The ads—which include the tagline "Nicely done, beef"—are designed for NCBA's target audience: older millennial parents.

These ads are the second phase of a relaunch of the Beef. It's What's for Dinner brand, which NCBA unveiled back in October with a new logo, website, and content component that tells the stories of the farmers and ranchers who produce beef.

NCBA is playing on the nostalgia factor with this relaunch, as anyone who came to age in America in the 1990s will likely remember the TV and radio ads. After some research and testing with millennials, NCBA found that the brand "brought back great memories of being in their mom's kitchen," according to Harrison. "But even for those that didn't remember it, it really still resonated with them."

In addition to pushing out ads, NCBA is hosting "12 Tips for the Holidays" on Facebook, with video recipes and tricks of the trade, ranging from choosing the right cut of meat to preparing sauces and creating beef appetizers.

"Our goal is to reach 20 million consumers, but our ultimate goal with this whole relaunch of the 'Beef: It's What's for Dinner' brand over the next three years is to make beef the number-one protein choice for consumers," Harrison said.

HOGS:

(USDA) -- Beginning January 10, 2018, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will publish an enhanced Weekly Average Weight of Barrows and Gilts Report to provide additional customer service to the swine industry. The report will now provide national average weight data on carcass and live hogs along with regional data. These enhancements will offer more market transparency and provide customers with additional data to use in an evolving and competitive marketplace.

The expanded report replaces the Weekly Estimated Average Live Weights of Barrows and Gilts for Iowa-Southern Minnesota-South Dakota Report. During a recent review of Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR) data, it was found the weight data could be broken down further to reflect regional and national average weight data on carcass and live hogs.

The reports will run side-by-side until March 1, 2018, to ensure customers have time to adapt to the expanded report. For more information on LMR, visit: www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/mmr. You may also contact Jim Bernau, Livestock, Poultry, and Grain Market News Acting Director, at (202) 720-1749; or Taylor Cox, Field Chief, at (515) 284-4460.

John Harrington can be reached at harringtonsfotm@gmail.com

Follow John Harrington on Twitter @feelofthemarket

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John Harrington

John Harrington
Connect with John: