DTN Early Word Opening Livestock

Livestock Futures Ready for Mixed Opening

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

Cattle: Steady-$2 HR Futures: mixed Live Equiv $134.85 - 0.48*

Hogs: Steady-$1 HR Futures: mixed Lean Equiv $82.30 + 0.34**

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

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

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Cattle buying interest should start to take some formThursday morning. Yet it's a good bet that opening bids will remain far below asking prices of $124-plus in the South and $195-plus in the North. Accordingly, significant trade volume could be delayed until sometime Friday, especially if the board remains relatively firm. Live and feeder futures should start out with mixed prices as specs and comercials cautiously posture before the development of cash news.

Late-year cash firmed somewhat Wednesday with moving country receipts no better than moderate. Such buying interest is expected to increase Thursday with bids rangng from steady to $1 higher. As expected, Saturday's kill is set to be a large one as processors move to make up for lost time. Look for the weekend slaughter to total close to 385,000 head. Expect lean futures to open narrowly mixed with slow trade volume.

BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1) Out-front (with delivery of 22 days or more) boxed beef sales surged over 1,200 loads last week. Early-year demand may be already showing legs. 1) Beef cut-outs closed solidly lower at midweek, suggesting that retailers and food mangers will remain cautious buyers until at least after New Years.
2) A seasonal top in cattle carcass weights should be close at hand wiith the fall-out possibly accelerated by bitter cold winter temps. 2) Spot Dec live is at modest premiums to Feb and Apr, suggesting limited upside potential in the cattle market going into the early part of 2018 and should encourage producers to remain current in their marketings.
3) The pork carcass value closed moderately higher on Wednesday, supported by better demand from all primals except the picnic and butt. 3) For the week ended December 23, Iowa barrows and gilts averaged 285.1 pounds, 0.1 pound heavier than the previous week. Yet the big news remains the fact the total towers 5.9 pounds greater than 2016.
4) Since February lean hogs futures assumed spot contract status last week, both the short and long-term trends remain positive. 4) The February lean hog contract finished the the midweek session 50 points lower at $71.03, a 945-point premium to the late cash index. Such a lead may proved to be justified, but it's not likely to get much larger until the cash market shows more life.

OTHER MARKET SENSITIVE NEWS

CATTLE: (Oklahoma Farm Report) -- After an extensive search, the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB) has named Scott Stuart of Colorado as the new chief executive officer, effective February 1, 2018.

Stuart has an extensive background in the livestock industry, including board management and as a contractor to the beef board. He currently serves as the President and CEO of the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA), which comprises several regional livestock marketing cooperatives marketing over 2.5 million cattle annually. In his first few months at the CBB, Stuart says he wants to spend some time getting acquainted with the organization and its people.

"I want to get to know the leaders very well and know what gets them up in the morning, what their motivation is," he said. "And, I want to know what they truly expect of me. I want people to know me; know I'm fully invested in what I'm doing - know that I'm approachable. And that's from the smallest investment in the Checkoff to the largest."

For Stuart, he says his motivation comes from the inspiring work of the producers that take and make the time, to get involved in the operation and direction of the Beef Checkoff. Those are the people he wants to serve. He says, much like them, he is a producer. He says his best self and best thinking comes when he gets up in the morning to do his chores. He believes such work gets you closer to what life is all about, and the work that sustains his and his colleagues' livelihoods. As he prepares to take on his new role, Stuart has reflected on what lies ahead for him - the challenges that wait to be tackled to make the CBB better than he found it.

"The next five years is not unlike the last five years," Stuart said. "When we're limited on resources, that makes it tougher and tougher. As we go forward, every year gets tougher."

Stuart says he hopes to explore and discuss any and every new way to use the Checkoff's resources more efficiently and stretch what it has to do more. He says the key is keeping producers invested.

HOGS: (KMCH) -- The Iowa Pork Producers Association's 2018 Iowa Pork Congress will be held on Jan. 24 and 25 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

North America's largest winter swine trade show and conference will feature nine new seminars, a keynote address, 300 exhibitors, training sessions, fun social events and exciting youth activities.

"Pork Congress has something for everyone and it's our hope that attendees will join us and take advantage of the available opportunities," said IPPA President Curtis Meier, a pig farmer from Clarinda.

A strong lineup of free business seminars on the timely subjects and issues of greatest importance to pork producers and the industry will be offered. "Utilizing Livestock Manure in a Cover Crop Program" will be presented by Drs. Dan Anderson and Matt Helmers from Iowa State University; Dr. Steve Meyer will look to the future of prices and profitability; and Erik Potter from ISU will explain how not to fail an audit.

Matt Rush is the former New Mexico Farm Bureau CEO and an award-winning speaker and author. He'll present "There's a snake in my bumper" as the 2018 Iowa Pork Congress keynote speaker. Rush will explain why it's important for farmers to tell the agriculture story and why farmers must be viable, valuable and visible to remain successful. The keynote will be held at 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 24.

Hog farmers also will be able to obtain or renew their PQA Plus® and TQA® certifications, and a certification session for confinement site manure applicators is being offered.

Companies from Iowa, the U.S. and around the world that serve the pork industry will fill the Hy-Vee Hall trade show floor to offer solutions that help pig farmers become more efficient, profitable and successful. IPPA will once again have its booth and the Pork Information Plaza in Hall "A" and be joined by the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, Iowa State University, other affiliated organizations and commercial exhibitors.

John Harrington can be reached at harringtonsfotm@gmail.com

Follow John Harrington on Twitter @feelofthemarket

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John Harrington