DTN Early Word Opening Livestock

Cattle Futures Staged to Open the Week Higher

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

Cattle: Steady-$2 HR Futures: 50-100 HR Live Equiv: $136.09 - .19*

Hogs: Steady-$1 LR Futures: 50-100 LR Lean Equiv: $ 85.91 -1.96**

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

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


Feedlot activity will be typically quiet with showlist distribution job one. Late-country trading late Friday was once again difficult to assess in terms of volume. But higher sales of $113 and $178 to $180 no doubt generated country movement at least as large as the previous week, perhaps even more. Still, we'll pass on Mandatory totals as soon as they become available later Monday morning. Look for the fed offering to be about steady with last week. Live and feeder futures should open higher thanks to cash premiums and declining slaughter.

Hog buyers will remain on the defensive Monday morning, mindful of both growing numbers and struggling pork demand. Expect opening bids to range from steady to $1 lower. The big question early this week will be tied to tornado damage suffered by the JBS pork plant at Marshalltown, Iowa, last week and how quickly that facility can return to full production. Lean futures should open under pressure thanks to Friday's sharp break in carcass value and further long liquidation.


Cattle feeders were successful in outlasting the patience of short-bought packers last Friday, forcing them to spend $1 to $2 more than last week on a live basis. Evidence of such impressive feedlot leverage in themiddle of a hot summer speaks well of excellent beef demand.


Although the July 1 Cattle on Feed report was well anticipated, the midsummer bunk line confirmed on Friday was the longest since the series began in 1996. The production pipeline is loaded to the max and will require strong product demand over the next quarter or so to minimize price damage.


Cattle slaughter last week decreased to 640,000 head, 15,000 short of the prior year. More and more believe fed numbers have peaked out and will now steadily decrease over the next 30 to 60 days.


While the midyear herd was only up 1% as of July 1, cattle inventories continue to grow, even as U.S. cow-calf producers slowly put an end to expansion. That will continue to strain processing capacity and lead to record-large beef production over the next several years.


For the week ending July 17, noncommercial traders reduced their net-short position in lean hog futures to 23,300 contracts; a change of 1,000 contracts. At the same time, commercial trades reduced their short position by 2,400 contracts, now short 6,300.


The pork carcass value plunged nearly $2 lower on Friday, especially hammered by an $11.60 drop in the belly primals.


The July lean hog contract fell off the board at $80, but now August is trading at a $13 spread under July's close, a strong loss for cash hogs if they materialize. In short, the late-summer board could prove to be seriously oversold.


Last week's hog slaughter increased to 2.382 millon head, 107,000 more than the previous week. The seasonal low in hog slaughter has probably come and gone.


CATTLE:(USA TODAY) -- The bratwurst sizzles, oozes juice and has the right touch of saltiness and chewiness -- but isn't made out of meat.

Sausage has joined hamburgers as products being made by Beyond Meat, one of the companies at the forefront of scientifically engineering plant-based foods to bring them closer to the taste, aroma and texture of real meat than was possible before.

Reporters got a chance to sample the products Thursday as Beyond Meat opened a new research and development center here on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The goal, executives said, was to even further improve the taste of its products.

"What we're doing here is bringing together the great scientists in the world, best engineers in the world, the best managers in the world and giving them a single task: Understanding meat better than anybody else and building that meat directly from plants," said CEO Ethan Ryan. "We will reset human history where we no longer need to use the animal to grow a piece of meat."

Beyond Meat isn't alone. A rival, Impossible Foods, is among those also in the same race. It announced earlier this year that its patties would be available in 140 White Castle eateries.

But Beyond Meat, which has its fake hamburger in select supermarkets across the country, has some impressive backing. It boasts of investors include Leonardo DiCaprio and business tech legends like Bill Gates; Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

While veggie patties have been around for years, the scientifically engineered meat business aims to go far deeper into trying to recreate the juiciness and taste of real beef.

To do it, scientists collect the aroma of steaks and analyze the molecules that generate the scent. Then they come up with substitutes. One surprising source as a substitute for that sizzling fat: parsley, said Daniel Ryan, the company's director of chemistry.

For color, the lab uses deep red powder extracted from beets to give the product a more natural appearance. Yet through lab work, the beet flavor isn't passed through. Ingredients like coconut oil and potato starch make the burgers juicy.

The firm said its products do not contain soy, gluten or genetically modified organisms. Besides beef-like burgers, Beyond Meat's is displaying sausages, frozen chicken strips and beef crumbles on its website. The big seller remains burgers, which it said are in more than 10,000 grocery stores, from Whole Foods Market to Kroger. "It is really around taste. We have to make these products taste great and give amazing experience, so people are drawn to it," Brown said. "They choose it as a new form of meat rather than feeling obligated to have it."

HOGS: (porkbusiness.com) -- Severe weather wrecked havoc across much of Iowa Thursday, damaging businesses such as the Vermeer dealership in Pella and JBS's Marshalltown pork processing plant.

The Marshalltown JBS plant suffered significant damage in the distribution area. Reports say the processing area is operational, but the plant remained closed on Friday until damage estimates are finalized.

The plant runs an estimated 20,000 hogs per day, and employs more than 2,200 people. Animals scheduled for processing would likely be rerouted to other plants.

No injuries were reported at the plant. In total, there were at least 10 people injured due to the Marshalltown tornado.

John Harrington can be reached at harringtonsfotm@gmail.com

Follow him on Twitter @feelofthemarket


John Harrington