Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were firm on the recent higher trade in boxed beef. That’s in addition to continued delayed support connected to last week’s cattle on feed update concentrated in the deferreds, along with traders waiting for widespread cash business. October was up $.20 at $126.20 and December was $.22 higher at $127.07.
Feeder cattle futures were steady to firm, basically following the lead of the live pit. October was unchanged at $145.25 and November was $.12 higher at $147.17.
Direct cash cattle markets were generally quiet Wednesday but packer inquiry is improving. USDA did report very light trade in Kansas at $202 on the dressed basis, mostly heifers. Bids are $124 on the live basis in Texas and Kansas with asking prices at $129 to $130 in the South and $200 to $202+ in the North. Significant business will probably wait until Thursday or Friday.
Boxed beef was higher on light to moderate demand and light offerings with Choice at a nine year high, posting gains in 14 of the last 17 days. Choice was up $.86 at $199.38 and Select was $.58 higher at $183.92. The estimated slaughter of 114,000 head was down 9,000 on the week and 16,000 on the year.
At the feeder cattle auction in Loup City, Nebraska, steer and heifer calves were steady in a thin test with the auction reporting most calves had spring time shots. Slaughter cows and bulls were $3 to $4 lower, with slaughter cattle making up 52% of the supply. Demand was mostly light on a short list of buyers; estimated receipts were 1,263 head, compared to 2,350 a week ago and 0 a year ago. 570 to 585 pound feeder steers sold at $152 to $153.75 and 507 to 523 pound feeder heifers ranged from $142.50 to $145.25. High dress breakers sold at $76 to $79, boners ranged from $66 to $72, and lean slaughter cattle were reported at $63 to $68.50.
Lean hog futures were firm thanks to the discount to the cash index. Deferred contracts received additional support from projections for tighter market ready numbers in the coming months. Still, gains across the pit were limited by expectations for a seasonal slump in the cash market. December was up $.12 at $78.25 and February was $.02 higher at $84.67.
Cash hogs markets were mixed with light packer demand at the major direct markets. On one hand, pork demand appears to be slowing down with the cutout dropping two, now three, days in a row. On the other hand, a number of packers still look short bought.
The National Direct market was $.11 lower at $73 to $84.25 with a weighted average of $82.45. The Eastern Cornbelt was $.62 lower at $75 to $84 for an average of $80.01, the Western Cornbelt was unchanged at $73 to $84.25 with an average of $83.36, and Iowa/Southern Minnesota was $.10 lower at $73 to $84.25 for an average of $83.42.
Butcher hogs at the terminal markets were steady to $1 higher with tops at $54 to $60. The Missouri Direct base carcass meat price was $1 to $2 lower at $76 to $78 with supply and demand both light to moderate. Estimated receipts of 470 head were down sharply on the week and the year. Missouri Direct sows were steady to $2 higher at $40 to $52. Illinois Direct sows were steady to weak on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings at $37 to $50. Estimated receipts were 900 head, considerably below the prior week and previous year.
Pork trade was light to moderate with light demand and mostly moderate offerings and the pork carcass cutout down $1.99 at $85.42. The estimated slaughter of 434,000 head was unchanged from last week and up 4,000 from last year. This week’s slaughter pace is running ahead of both a week ago and a year ago.
The average Iowa/Southern Minnesota hog weight for the week ending October 20 was 271.7 pounds, down a half a pound from a week ago and 1.6 pounds lighter than a year ago.