Live Cattle Futures

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Chart of Live Cattle futures updated December 25th, 2023. Click the chart to enlarge. Press ESC to close.

Live Cattle Trading Chart updated December 25th, 2023

Disclaimer: This material is of opinion only and does not guarantee any profits. These are risky markets and only risk capital should be used. Past performances are not necessarily indicative of future results.


Live Cattle Contract Specifications


CME Globex Product Symbol (Electronic Trading) LE


Open Outcry Product Symbol (Trading Floor) RR


Contract Size

The unit of trading shall be 40,000 pounds of 55% Choice, 45% Select grade live steers.


Price Quotation Cents per pound


Venue CME Globex, Open Outcry


CME Globex Hours (EST) MON 9:05 a.m. - FRI 1:55 p.m. Central Time Daily trading halts 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central Time


Open Outcry Hours (EST) MON-FRI: 9:05 a.m. -1:00 p.m. Central Time


Minimum Fluctuation The minimum price fluctuations for live cattle shall be multiples of $.00025 per pound.


Daily Price Limits There shall be no trading of live cattle futures contracts at a price more than $.030 per pound above or below the previous day's settlement price.


Position Limits

No person shall own or control more than:

a. 6,3000 contracts long or short in any contract month;

b. 450 contracts long or short in the expiring contract month as of the close of business on the first business day following the first Friday of the contract month.

c. 300 contracts long or short in the expiring contract month as of the close of business on the business day immediately preceding the last five business days of the contract month. For positions involving options of Live Cattle futures, this rule is superseded by the option speculative position limit rule.


Accumulation of Positions

For the purposes of this rule, the positions of all accounts directly or indirectly owned or controlled by a person or persons, and the positions of all accounts of a person or persons acting pursuant to an expressed or implied agreement or understanding, and the positions of all accounts in which a person or persons have a propriety or beneficial interest, shall be cumulated.



The foregoing position limits shall not apply to bona fide hedging positions meeting the requirements of Regulation 1.3(z)(1) of the CFTC and the rules of the Exchange and shall not apply to other positions exempted pursuant to Rule 559.


Grade Specifications

Each futures contract shall be for 55% Choice, 45% Select, Yield Grade 3 live steers, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) "Official United States Standards for Grades of Slaughter Cattle", or producing 55% Choice, 45% Select, Yield Grade 3 steer carcasses, as defined by "Official United States Standards for Grades of Carcass Beef".


Listed Contracts

Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec


Termination of Trading Trading shall terminate on the last business day of the contract month.


Delivery Payment

Delivery Payment is to be made in same day funds 1) by a check drawn on and certified by a Chicago bank or 2) by a Cashier’s check issued by a Chicago bank. The long clearing member may effect Delivery Payment by wire transfer only if this method of Delivery Payment is acceptable to the short clearing member. Buyers obligated to accept delivery must take delivery and make Delivery Payment and sellers obligated to make delivery must make delivery before 1:00 p.m. of the day of delivery, or by such other time designated by the Clearing House, except on banking holidays when delivery must be taken or made and Delivery Payment made before 9:30 a.m. the next banking business day, or by such other time designated by the Clearing House. Adjustments for differences between contract prices and delivery prices established by the Clearing House shall be made with the Clearing House in accordance with its rules, policies and procedures.


Settlement - Sources and Calculation of Adjustment Factors

Quality grade adjustments for all delivery units will make use of the live weight equivalent of the Choice- Select boxed beef spread calculated from information reported by USDA (in $/cwt.) for the day of tender in the National Daily Boxed Beef Cutout and Boxed Beef Cuts – Negotiated Sales – Afternoon report. This is referred to hereafter as the Live Equivalent Choice-Select Spread ( LECSS) and is computed by subtracting the “Selected Boxed Beef Cut-Out Value” from the “Choice Boxed Beef Cut-Out Value” and multiplying that result by 0.0063.

The USDA By-Product Drop Value report for the day of tender shall serve as the source of information for calculating the condemned liver factor used in carcass-graded deliveries. The condemned liver factor shall equal the reported liver value (in $/cwt.) multiplied by -0.01.

In addition, quality grade, yield grade and carcass weight adjustments will make use of factors calculated from values reported by USDA (in $/cwt.) in the 5-Area Weekly Weighted Average Direct Slaughter Cattle – Premiums and Discounts report. The Prime, Standard, Yield Grade 1, Yield Grade 2, Yield Grade 4, Yield Grade 5, 550-600 lbs. 900-950 lbs. and 950-1000 lbs. factors are calculated by multiplying the reported weighted average for the corresponding category by 0.0063. If a quality grade or yield grade is broken into subcategories on this report, then the factor for that quality or yield grade shall be the simple average of all reported averages for the subcategories in that category multiplied by 0.0063. The most recently issued report with respect to the day a Certificate is tendered shall be used to calculate the factors for that delivery unit. When a Certificate is tendered on the same day that a new report is issued, that new report shall be used in factor calculation regardless of the time of day that the report is released.

The sub-Standard factor shall equal -25% of the tender day settlement price.

Should the USDA determine that an error exists in any of the reports used to calculate adjustment factors and subsequently issues a corrected report, that corrected report shall be used in place of the original.


Settlement - Live Graded Deliveries

1. Delivery Days.

Delivery may be made on any business day of the contract month, and the first seven business days in the succeeding calendar month, provided a Certificate has been tendered as prescribed in Rule 10104.A., except that live graded deliveries may not be made prior to the seventh business day following the first Friday of the contract month.

2. Seller's Duties.

On the day of delivery, the seller shall promptly furnish the buyer a USDA Livestock Acceptance Certificate which shall include pen number, number of head, net weight of cattle, quality grade, estimated average hot yield, and estimated yield grade.

3. Payment.

Upon the seller's fulfillment of the delivery in accordance with all conditions of the contract herein set forth, the Clearing House shall release the retained funds to the seller. Title to each delivered unit shall pass to the buyer when the delivered unit is placed in the buyer's holding pen.

4. Par Delivery and Substitutions.

a. Par Delivery Unit. A par delivery unit is 40,000 pounds of USDA estimated Yield Grade 3, 55% Choice, 45% Select quality grade live steers, with no individual animal weighing less than 1,050 pounds or more than 1,500 pounds.

Par delivery units shall have an estimated average hot yield of 63%.

All cattle contained in a delivery unit shall be healthy. No cattle which are unmerchantable, such as crippled, sick, obviously damaged or bruised, or which for any reason do not appear to be in satisfactory condition to withstand shipment by truck shall be deliverable. No cattle showing a predominance of dairy breeding or showing a prominent hump on the forepart of the body shall be deliverable. Such determinations shall be made by the grader and shall be binding on all parties.

b. Weight Deviations. Steers weighing less than 1,050 pounds or more than 1,500 pounds shall not be deliverable. The judgment of the grader as to such overweight or underweight cattle shall be final.

c. Yield Deviations. Delivery units with an estimated average hot yield over or under 63% shall be deliverable with an adjustment computed by dividing the estimated hot yield by 63% (the par hot yield), subtracting 1, multiplying the result by the settlement price, and then multiplying by the total live weight of the delivery unit. Units with an estimated average hot yield of less than 60% shall not be deliverable.

d. Yield Grade Deviations. Steers with an estimated yield grade of 3 are deliverable at par. Each steer with an estimated yield grade of 1, 2, 4 or 5 shall receive a per pound adjustment equal to the corresponding factors described in Rule 10103.A. Per animal yield grade adjustments shall be calculated by multiplying the per pound adjustment by the average live weight of the delivery unit.

e. Quality Grade Deviations. Delivery units composed of 55% USDA Choice grade steers and 45% USDA Select grade steers are deliverable at par.

All animals in a delivery unit shall receive a quality grade adjustment computed from the factors described in Rule 10103.A. The Live Equivalent Choice-Select Spread (LECSS) and other factors are defined in Rule 10103.A. Per pound quality grade adjustments shall be as follows:

f. Quantity Deviations. Variations in quantity of a delivery unit not in excess of 5% of 40,000 pounds shall be permitted at the time of delivery, with appropriate adjustment to reflect delivered weight but with no further penalty.

g. Delivery Points and Allowances. A par delivery of live beef cattle shall be made from approved livestock yards in Wray, Colorado; Worthing, South Dakota; Syracuse, Kansas; Tulia, Texas; Columbus, Nebraska; Dodge City, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Norfolk, Nebraska; North Platte, Nebraska; Ogallala, Nebraska; Pratt, Kansas; Texhoma, Oklahoma; and Clovis, New Mexico.1

h. Payment for Deviations. For the purpose of computing adjustments resulting from deviations from the par delivery unit the settlement price at the time the Certificate is tendered by the clearing member representing the seller will be used.

5. Procedures and Standards for Grading, Estimating Yield and Weighing.

a. Time for Grading. To be eligible for delivery, cattle must be confined in a secured pen at an approved livestock yard prior to 9:00 a.m. local time on the day of delivery. Grading and weighing shall be done on the day of delivery unless more deliveries are indicated than can be conveniently graded and weighed on the intended delivery day. In such case the President may allow grading and weighing after 2:00 p.m. local time on the day preceding delivery. The buyer must be notified within an hour after the cattle are in his holding pen that the delivery intended for him for the following day has been graded, weighed and sealed in his holding pen.

b. Grading and Estimating Yield. Seller shall deliver his cattle to a livestock yard approved by the Exchange and surrender the cattle for Exchange delivery by consigning the lot to a duly licensed, registered and bonded livestock commission firm. The cattle shall be identified in a manner satisfactory to the USDA grader and placed in holding pens.

If, on preliminary examination, the lot of cattle appears to be healthy, merchantable and in good condition, the USDA grader shall grade the cattle, estimate the average hot yield (dressing percentage) and estimate the yield grade, and shall record same on the USDA Livestock Acceptance Certificate along with the weights taken by the approved livestock yards company. Graders shall also record on the grading certificate the number of head and the pen number of the holding pen which has been sealed pending delivery to the buyer.

c. Weighing. Weighing shall be done within one hour following the completion of grading. The cattle must stand without feed but shall receive water during the interval between 9:00 a.m. and grading. However, in no event shall the cattle receive feed or water during the interval between grading and weighing.1

Weighing shall be done by the approved livestock yards company on officially approved scales and recorded on the official scale ticket or official weight sheets which shall show total net weight and number of head of cattle, lot number and/or pen number and the date weighed. After grading and weighing, the cattle shall be sealed in a holding pen.

6. Delivery Invoice

After grading and weighing, the USDA shall notify the Exchange of the results, from which the Exchange shall promptly prepare its Delivery Invoice incorporating the pen number, number of head, net weight, quality grade, estimated average hot yield, estimated yield grade, date of receipt of cattle and date of USDA grading. The Delivery Invoice shall be promptly delivered to the buyer and seller. Upon receipt, the USDA Livestock Acceptance Certificate shall be forwarded to the clearing member representing the buyer.

7. Cost of Grading and Weighing

All yardage costs, including driving of livestock, feeding, bedding, weighing, insurance and any other required services up to and including weighing shall be borne by the seller in accordance with the published rates as set forth in the tariff of the livestock yard. The seller shall also bear the costs of grading and documentation, which will be established annually by the Exchange. Any charges accruing after delivery by seller to the buyer's holding pen shall be borne by the buyer.

8. Penalties.

If, in the opinion of the USDA grader, the seller fails to present a load of cattle, or fails to present cattle which have been properly sorted prior to arrival at the delivery point stockyards and are suitable for delivery on the date at the place specified in the Certificate of Delivery, the seller shall be penalized $.015 per pound each business day until proper delivery is made.

If, in the opinion of the USDA grader, the buyer or his agent delay, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the delivery process in any manner, the buyer shall be penalized $.015 per pound on each delivery unit delivered to the buyer.

In these and all other delivery matters, the determination of the USDA grader shall be final and binding on all parties.

9. Exchange Certificate.

The rules of the Exchange in regard to the Exchange Inspection Certificate are not applicable to delivery under this Chapter.


Rulebook Chapter 101


Exchange Rule These contracts are listed with, and subject to, the rules and regulations of CME.


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