Packers may start next week short bought on cattle

The cash cattle trade was not tested on Friday. DTN says that packer behavior seemed a little strange. On one hand trade volume totals were barely moderate at 78,888 head. On the other hand, weekly slaughter actually turned out to be larger than the previous week. Both of those factors mean that packers could start out next week extremely close to the knife. There are reports one major packer in the North plans to be dark at one plant on Monday. The weekly cattle kill was estimated at 643,000 head, 2,000 more than the previous week, but 7,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were weak on light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was down .76 at 192.74, and select was .76 lower at 175.74.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures contracts settled unchanged to 55 points lower with the exception of December. Futures were pressured by long liquidation and beef demand worries. Packer reluctance to extend live inventories seemed to encourage bears to dig deeper bear discounts. Significantly lower beef cutouts at midday also weighed on the market. December settled .10 higher at 145.42, and February was down .05 at 129.17.

Feeder cattle ended the session 15 to 52 points higher. Prices were lifted by late week profit taking and the selloff in the corn pit. November was up .25 at 144.90, and January was up .32 at 146.67.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions this week totaled 32,099 head. Compared to last week, statewide prices on calves were mostly steady and yearlings were steady to weak as most reporters noted a limited test compared to a week ago. 1147 head of feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 574 lbs. brought 158.30 per hundredweight. 597 heifers weighing 570 lbs. traded at 138.58 on average.

Lean hogs settled 12 to 60 points lower. Late week selling seem linked to long liquidation and ideas that pre-Thanksgiving fundamentals will not be conducive to near term price stability. Also weighing on the market was the noon carlot trade that was not tested. December hogs were down .12 at 77.75, and February was .25 lower at 83.90.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trace closed 1.15 higher at 80.78 weighted average carcass basis, the West was up .52 at 80.51, and the East was also .52 higher at 79.78. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 76.00 to 77.00. Terminal hogs were fully steady on a live basis from 52.00 to 57.00.

Pork trading was slow with light to moderate demand and offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was up .10 at 85.56.

For the four-week period ending October 13, federally inspected sow slaughter exceeded the previous year by 5.4%. Herd liquidation probably continues at a modest pace according to John Harrington at DTN. 

The weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 2,359,000 head 20,000 less than the previous week, but 10,000 more than last year.

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