Feeder-Cattle Prices Rise to Record on Grain-Cost Outlook

Feeder-cattle futures rose to a record for the second straight day on speculation that demand from U.S. ranchers will increase as grain costs drop. Hogs fell.

The price of corn, the main ingredient in livestock feed, slumped to a three-year low on the outlook for the biggest U.S. crop ever this year. The loss of animals from a blizzard in the Western Plains may also be boosting cattle prices, according to Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group in Yates City, Illinois.

“Feeders will continue to respond to what corn does,” Kane said in a telephone interview. “I’m hearing some pretty heavy livestock losses in South Dakota.”

Feeder-cattle futures for November settlement rose 0.8 percent to close at $1.69275 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached a record $1.69725.

The commodity has jumped 21 percent from the 2013 closing low on March 20. Feedlot operators typically buy 1-year-old cattle that weigh 500 pounds (227 kilograms) to 800 pounds, called feeders, which are fattened on corn until they weigh 1,300 pounds and are sold to meatpackers.

This year, corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade have tumbled 38 percent, heading for a record slump.

Cattle futures for December delivery increased 0.2 percent to $1.32475 a pound on the CME.

Hog futures for December settlement fell 0.2 percent to 86.5 cents a pound. The price has climbed 12 percent in the past 12 months.

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