Except for a few cleanup deals at 122.00 cattle country was quiet on Friday. Look for encouraged feedlot managers to price cattle higher on Monday, possible around 124.00 plus in the South, and 200.00 plus in the North. A lot depends on whether or not the beef trade gets straightened out. At this time processors are going into the second half of April with terrible margins. The weekly cattle kill was estimated at 582,000 head, 40,000 less than last week and down 63,000 from last year.
Boxed beef cutout values were firm to higher on moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was up 1.81 at 178.51, and select was .57 higher at 177.33.
Live cattle contracts settled 72 to 127 points lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday. Futures were pressured by profit taking and spillover selling from lean hog futures. Uncertain boxed beef prospects may have also worked to partially curb Thursday’s burst of enthusiasm. April settled .72 points lower at 120.52, and June was down 1.07 at 116.07.
Feeder cattle ended the session 35 to 72 points lower. Lower values in the live pit pressured the front months while the drop in old crop corn futures lent support to the back months. April was down .57 at 150.52, and May was down .72 at 151.50.
Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 23,618 head. Compared to last week, steers traded 2.00 to 6.00 lower, heifers were steady to 4.00 lower. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 and 1 to 2 weighing 500 to 600 lbs. brought 154.00 to 191.50 per hundredweight and 7 to 8 weights from 130.00 to 161.75. Feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 lbs. traded from 130.00 to 173.00 and 7 to 8 weights from 120.00 to 147.75.
Lean hog contracts settled 77 to 300 points lower due to a lack of constructive fundamentals and signs to support premium structure. Some had hoped Wednesday’s big increase in cutouts might be the start of something. But so far that has proved to be yet another wholesale dud according to John Harrington at DTN. April settled .77 lower at 82.75, and June was down the 3.00 limit at 90.22.
There was slow market activity with light demand in the hogs on Friday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.14 higher at 80.41 on a carcass basis, the West was down 1.03 at 79.19, and the East is .63 lower at 79.66. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady from 78.00 to 79.00. Terminal hogs closed steady from 52.00 to 55.00.
Pork trading was slow to moderate with moderate demand and offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was down 1.81 at 77.01.
The weekly hog slaughter is estimated at 2,044,000 head, 80,000 less than last week, but 96,000 more than last year.
Pork processors seem to be having a little more trouble lining up sufficient market hog numbers to fund slaughter plans. Barring a big surprise, such procurement difficulty should significantly grow over the next 30-60 days.