Cattle country was very quiet on Friday afternoon with business completed for the week. Between firm feedlot psychology and struggling cut-outs we could be in for another tough showdown in the cash market next week. Trade volume totals for Thursday were a bit larger than initially thought, but still implying no better than moderate movement. It looks like poorly margined packers simply did what they had to do in order to cover near term slaughter needs and then headed for the door according to DTN. The slaughter for the week totaled 620,000 head, 31,000 less than last week, and 49,000 below 2011.
Boxed beef cutout values are lower on light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef is down 1.36 at 189.99, and select is 1.45 lower at 175.64.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 72 points higher to 22 lower. Moderate gains held in the nearby contracts, although the lack of support in the boxed beef values and the inability of packers to step back into the cash market at higher prices on Friday limited the upside movement across the complex. Deferred contracts were under pressure as traders focused more on squaring positions at the end of the week rather than concentrating on either any technical or fundamental shifts in the market. October was up .72 at 123.05, and December was up .50 at 126.20.
Feeder cattle settled 27 to 50 higher on the nearby support in the live cattle market and the pressure in corn prices. Traders focused on the potential of stable grain markets over the near future. October settled .35 higher at 144.82 and November was up .37 at 146.20.
Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions totaled 28,080 head this week. Compared to last week, the feeder market was once again very uneven as calves sold from 5.00 lower to 3.00 higher. Yearlings were mostly steady with spots of 2.00 higher. Some markets that posted double digit losses last week last week on feather weights managed to put most of that back on this week. Supply was moderate and demand was good to very good for cattle of the right type which at the very least includes a health program and a good dose of perceived quality. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 523 lbs. averaged 161.05 per hundredweight. Heifers weighing 522 lbs. brought 144.14.
Lean hogs settled 80 points higher to 47 lower. Pressure developed through the lean hog market as traders concentrated on the light pullback in the cash market in the morning report and the overall end of the week activity seen in the complex. October settled .47 lower at 81.32, and December was up .50 at 76.55.
There was moderate market activity, with light to moderate demand in the hogs on Friday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.91 higher at 80.36 on a carcass basis, the West was up 1.80 at 80.00, and the East was down 1.28 at 78.33. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 70.00 to 73.00. Terminal hogs were fully steady from 50.00 to 54.00.
Pork trading was slow to moderate, with light to moderate demand and moderate to light offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was down .68 at 84.27.
The weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 2.355,000 head, 10,000 more than last week, and 20,000 greater than last year. The reality of impressive processing margins continues to cause Saturday kill plans to grow larger and larger. Tomorrow’s hog slaughter is now estimated to total 194,000 head.