Feedlot cattle trade at steady to higher prices

USDA Mandatory reported cattle trading and demand was moderate in the Texas Panhandle on Friday. Compared to last week, live sales were unevenly steady at 124.00 to 124.50, mostly 124.00. Trading and demand was moderate in Kansas. Live sales were mostly 1.00 higher than the bulk of the sales last week at 124.00. Trading was moderate in Nebraska on moderate demand. Compared to last week live sales were unevenly steady at 126.00, and dressed sales mostly 3.00 higher at 203.00. Live sales in Iowa were at 126.00 and dressed sales 203.00. The weekly cattle slaughter was estimated at 666,000 head, 101,000 more than the holiday week, but 15,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were lower to sharply lower on moderate demand and heavy offerings. Choice boxed beef was down 2.25 at 191.01, and select was 1.39 lower at 173.27.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange closed mostly flat in a quiet session. Futures were under pressure with the early gains eroding as the session continued. The lack of cash market activity failed to provide fresh signs of demand. Margin stressed packers were reluctant to pay the higher prices asked by producers. December was unchanged and settled at 121.90, February was down .47 at 123.25.

Feeder cattle settled 45 to 97 points higher and early gains held through much of the session despite the lack of substantial support from the live pit. Lower corn values lent some support to the front of the feeder complex. January settled .97 higher at 147.07, and March was up .90 at 149.25.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 48,799 head. Compared to the previous week, steer and heifer calves weighing less than 500 pounds sold 5.00 to 10.00 higher, with some feather light steers 15.00 higher. Calves weighing over 500 pounds sold steady to 5.00 higher. The yearlings sold mostly steady. Following several special Thanksgiving week sales, featuring multiple loads of yearlings, the market did not see the same quality or quantity of cattle so many of the top sides of the price spread was not present. 1732 head of feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 624 pounds traded at 150.83 per hundredweight. 1355 heifers weighing 524 pounds brought 140.73.

Lean hogs settled 10 to 132 points lower on the weakness in the cash market. There was some profit taking. Questions concerning wholesale prices for pork continue to weigh on the market. December ended the session 1.32 lower at 82.50, and February was down 1.05 at 89.22.

There was moderate market activity and demand in the cash hog market on Friday. Iowa/Minnesota direct trade barrows and gilts closed .93 lower at 84.40 on a carcass basis, the West was down .82 at 84.31, and in the East the market closed at 82.20 up .70. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady from 79.00 to 80. Terminal butcher hogs were fully steady in a light test from 57.00 to 61.00 live.

Pork trading was slow with light to moderate demand and offerings. The pork carcass cutout value was down .69 at 88.61.

The weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 2,361,000 head, 294,000 more than the holiday shortened week and 36,000 greater than 2010. The cash market has weekend as packers completed procurement for a Saturday slaughter of 214,000 head.  DJN reports that packer margins have also narrowed a bit in recent days.


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