While the Southern cattle trade appeared to be complete by midafternoon on Friday, market watchers continued wait for more Northern action to develop. Regional buyers purchased several thousand head of cattle in Nebraska and Iowa in the morning, but major players were having trouble attracting interest with bids around 188.00. Cattle traded in the South mostly at 116.00, 2.00 to 3.00 lower than last week. Dressed business was generally steady to 2.00 lower. Cattle slaughter for the week at 649,000 head is 4,000 smaller than last week, and 41,000 less than last year.
Boxed beef cutout values were steady to weak on Friday afternoon on light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was down .58 at 196.63, and select was up .13 at 180.09.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 27 to 90 points higher in a sluggish trade. There appeared to be little direction to the market despite the weaker cash cattle trade and the expected release of the cattle on feed report after the market closed. There appeared to be no sense of urgency or even desire to step back into the market. June settled .90 higher at 116.90, and August was up .35 also at 116.90.
Feeder cattle ended the session unchanged to 35 points higher, with pressure on the market coming from modestly higher grain markets. The weakness in feeders over the last two weeks have taken nearly $8.00 per hundredweight off front month futures, with current values just $1.00 above support levels set in early April. August settled .15 higher at 152.80, and September was up .12 at 154.90.
Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 36,304 head. Compared to last week, feeder steers weighing less than 700 lbs. were 4.00 to 10.00 lower, with the greatest decline on those less than 550 lbs., steers over 700 lbs. were 1.00to 4.00 lower. Holsteins traded 2.00 to 7.00 lower. Feeder heifers’ were 2.00 to 6.00 lower. Buyers were cautious this week as they watched the futures close lower most days while grains closed mostly higher. 1195 head of feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 674 lbs. averaged 157.36 per hundredweight. 437 heifers weighing 675 brought 147.87.
Lean hogs settled 7 to 75 points lower. The combination of light trade activity through the livestock markets, renewed buyer activity in grain futures and the sharp losses in cash hogs on Friday morning caused traders to take protection at the end of the week. The idea of still short supplies continues to support the hog market as a whole, but with the Fourth of July just around the corner, traders and producers are expecting additional processing disruptions which could limit additional market support. July settled .67 lower at 94.92, and August was down .75 at 91.37.
There was moderate market activity with good demand in the hogs on Friday. Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .25 higher at 102.36 on a carcass basis, the West was down .10 at 101.83, and Eastern markets were .70 higher at 100.60. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 92.00 to 96.00. Terminal hogs were steady with an instance of 2.00 higher from 61.50 to 65.00 live.
Pork trading was slow, with mostly moderate demand and light offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was 2.35 higher at 100.81.
The weekly hog slaughter at 1,954,000 head is 3,000 less than last week, and down 7,000 from last year.
For the week ending June 9, Canadian feeder pig imports totaled 102,397 head, 6,000 head larger than last year and 11,000 head larger than the previous week. Over the past six weeks feeder pig imports have averaged 2.4% larger than the same period in 2011.