It was generally quiet in cattle country on Wednesday with attitudes torn between sharply lower futures and further signs of better beef demand. Accordingly, bids and asking prices were poorly defined with just a few bids in Texas at 118.00 and dressed bids in Nebraska at 190.00. Some showlists are priced around 123.00 in the South, and 195.00 to 197.00 in the North. Yet hedgers may be willing to take less money given attractive basis opportunities. Cattle slaughter was estimated at 130,000 head, 6,000 greater than last week, but down 1,000 from last year.
Boxed beef cutout values were higher on moderate demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was up 1.26 at 197.00 and select was .89 higher at 188.10
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 122 to 167 points lower on Wednesday. The pressure in nearly all commodity markets as well as sharp losses in the stock market pressured the live cattle complex. Losses were stemmed some by the higher boxed beef cutout values at midday. June settled 1.40 lower at 116.45, and August was down 1.67 at 117.92.
Feeder cattle followed the lead of the live pit and settled sharply lower although trade volume remained light. The pressure in live cattle futures as well as the weakness in the outside markets left feeder cattle traders focusing on short and long term expectations for the market. August settled 1.50 lower at 156.07, and September was down 1.30 at 157.37.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozark’s Regional Stockyards at West Plains, Missouri totaled 5100 head on Tuesday. Compared to a week ago, steers and heifers were mostly 2.00 to 6.00 higher with some instances of 10.00 to 15.00 higher. The market was all over the place just like the buyers pocket books. Dry conditions have forced producers to sell before they were ready but, with the high demand for feeders it makes for a favorable market. The supply was heavy and demand was good. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 weighing an average of 632 lbs. brought 168.84 per hundredweight. 731 lb. heifers traded at 141.43.
Lean hogs ended the session 82 points higher to 15 points lower with the losses in the far deferred 2013 contracts. Trade volume remained light for much of the session and the bearishness seen early in the session eroded with traders focusing on the potential for late week gains in both the cash hog and wholesale pork markets. Although the upside of the market was severely limited by the pressure in outside markets, nearby contracts were able to hold on to moderate gains. June settled .82 lower at 87.17, and July was up .32 at 88.00.
There was moderate market activity and demand in the hogs on Wednesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .78 higher at 82.45 on a carcass basis, the West was up .94 at 82.32, and in the East the market was .68 higher at 80.57. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 77.00 to 78.00. Terminal hogs were steady to mostly 1.00 lower from 53.00 to 55.00 live.
Pork trading was moderate with moderate to good demand and light to moderate offerings. Pork carcass cutout value closed 1.95 higher at 80.78.
Wednesday’s hog kill at 425,000 head, is 8,000 more than last week, and 1,000 greater than 2012. Saturday’s kill is expected to be around 130,000 head down considerably from early week estimates. Some packers need hogs to fill out this week’s kill schedules while others are buying for next week.
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