Chicago Mercantile Exchange live futures were higher Friday on solid cash demand the nearby months’ discount to the week’s cash trade, most of which was at $122. June closed near a three month high on expectations for good near term beef demand but there are concerns about longer term consumer interest. Even with a seasonal increase in supplies, market ready numbers are expected to be down due to last year’s drought sending supplies to slaughter earlier than normal. June was up $.52 at $119.87 and August was $.40 higher at $120.82.
Feeder cattle were higher, following the live pit. August was $.27 higher at $159.37 and September was up $.32 at $160.52.
Aside from some clean-up at $194 to $196 on the Dressed basis in Nebraska and $122 Live in Kansas, the bulk of the week’s cattle business was done on Thursday. Trade in the South was moderate at $122, up $1 on the week, with around 18,000 traded in Kansas and about 14,000 head moving in Texas. In the North, business was moderate to fairly active, primarily $195 to $196 Dressed with a few up to $197, also around $1 higher, with roughly 38,000 head traded in Nebraska. Given forecasted packer and consumer demand, next week’s asking prices could start out around $1 to $2 higher.
At the Ogallala, Nebraska Livestock Auction, feeder cattle receipts were 4,950 head, with no comparison to last week due to no feeder sale. Steers made up 33% of the offering and heifers accounted for the remaining 67%, and weights over 600 pounds made up 85% of the total cattle offered. Demand was called good for their Barbecue Special. For feeder steers, 600 to 700 pounders ranged from $166 to $175, with the 700 to 800 pound category at $156 to $167.10, and the 825 to 900 pound range at $148 to $158.35. 600 to 700 pound heifers sold from $146.25 to $164, 700 to 800 pounders sold at $140 to $155.50, and 800 to 900 pound heifers sold at $133 to $144.50.
Boxed beef cutout values were lower on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings. Choice was down $.48 at $196.94 and Select was $1.66 lower at $182.65. The estimated slaughter of 122,000 head was down 8,000 on the week and 7,000 on the year.
Hog futures Friday were mostly lower on profit taking and long liquidation linked to demand uncertainties. June did hit an eight month high early but backed off and August was the lone contract closing in positive territory. Keep an eye on chain speed; supplies continue to tighten seasonally but processing margins are poor and while export demand is solid, consumer demand has been slow. June was down $.05 at $93.02 and most active July was $.40 lower at $92.92.
There was some firm trade Friday as packers tried to ensure supplies for the coming week, but tighter market ready numbers and poor processing margins are expected to keep the Saturday slaughter very small, with USDA projecting the kill at 7,000 head. The weekly slaughter was over 2 million head but just barely. Butcher hogs at the terminals were steady to $1 higher with tops at $57 to $59. Missouri Direct butcher trade was steady at $84 to $85 with sows unchanged at $42 to $51. Illinois Direct sows were steady at $42 to $49.
The major regional direct markets were mixed, depending on packer demand and available supplies. The Eastern Cornbelt was $1.43 with the weighted average at $87.73, the Western Belt was down $3 at $88.95, and Iowa/Southern Minnesota dropped $3.59 to $88.53.
The pork carcass cutout value was up $.94 at $84.80 in slow to moderate trade with moderate demand and light offerings. Friday’s slaughter of 387,000 head was down 35,000 from a week ago but up 16,000 from a year ago.