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DTN Early Word Livestock Comments      05/24 06:15
   Trader Positioning Ahead of COF Report Will be Evident Friday

   Live cattle futures spent some time in positive territory Thursday, but
slipped lower into the close as positioning took place ahead of Friday's Cattle
on Feed report. Hog futures are unable to find support with the steep downtrend
continuing. New lows were again established as the market freefalls.

Robin Schmahl
DTN Contributing Analyst

   Cattle: Higher          Futures: Mixed    Live Equiv: $228.01 -$1.05*

   Hogs: lower            Futures: Higher    Lean Equiv: $104.55 -$1.38**

   *Based on the formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer
revenue. (The Live Cattle Equiv. The index has been updated to depict recent
changes in live cattle weights and grading percentages.)

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


   Weekly export sales were positive, increasing 42% from the previous week.
That was not enough to underpin the market throughout the day as traders turned
their attention to the Cattle on Feed report and began positioning ahead of the
report as Thursday progressed. The report has been known for its surprises and
this one will be no exception due to the wide estimate for the placement
number. Estimates for the report are for an on-feed number on May 1 of 99.1% of
a year ago. Placements in April at 93.3% and marketings at 109.5%. The range of
estimates for the on-feed number is 97.9% to 100.5%. Placements again have a
wide range of 86.5% to $104.5% and will keep traders cautious going into the
report. The range for marketing is from 108.6% to 110.7%. Boxed beef prices
were mixed with choice down $2.33 and select up $0.47. The April Livestock
Slaughter Report released Thursday showed beef production at 2.30 billion
pounds, 11% above April 2023. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.73 million head, up 7%
from a year earlier with the average live weight being 1,395 pounds, up 41
pounds from April 2023.
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