It was a pretty typical Tuesday in cattle country with buyers slow to field starter bids, and producer asking prices are a bit sketchy. Some showlists are priced around 128.00 plus in the South and 198.00 plus in the North. Significant trade volume will probably not take shape until the second half of the week. But for packers to stay on the backburner trying to wait out country resolve, they will probably find it necessary to keep a tight rein on chain speed. The kill totaled 129,000 head, 1,000 more than last week, but even with a year ago.
Boxed beef cutout values ended the day steady to firm on moderate to fairly good demand and moderate offerings. Choice beef was up .09 at 193.99, and select up .88 at 174.59.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 10 to 52 points higher. The cattle contracts remained inactive through the morning on Tuesday with traders focusing on the lack of direction in not only the cash trade but also outside markets. Boxed beef prices were sharply higher on the select at midday and that gave a boost to futures. December settled .45 higher at 125.80, and February was also up .45 at 129.80.
Feeder cattle ended the session unchanged to 67 higher with only the November contract lower. For much of the session traders focused more on the lack of support in the live issues than the movement of grain prices. November was down .47 at 143.52, but January was up .20 at 146.15.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Joplin Regional Stockyards on Monday totaled 4358 head. Steer calves weighing less than 550 lbs. and heifer calves less than 500 lbs. were steady, steer calves over 550 lbs. were steady to 1.00 lower, heifer calves over 500 lbs. 1.00 to 3.00 lower. Demand and supply was moderate. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 527 lbs. traded at 159.28. 529 lb. heifers traded at 134.39 per hundredweight.
Lean hogs settled 17 to 57 points higher. The focus of the early trade drew additional buyers into the market as they placed additional attention on continued strong demand through the end of the year even with the heavy supply levels seen. But by midday gains were partially erased due mostly to the inability to draw additional buyers back into the market. December settled .17 higher at 80.50, and February was up .57 at 86.85.
There was slow market activity with light demand in the hogs on Tuesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .55 higher at 78.46 on a carcass basis, the West was up .06 at 77.83, and the East was down .87 at 74.58. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 71.00 to 77.00. Terminal hogs were fully steady from 50.00 to 59.00 on a live basis.
Pork trading was moderate with light to moderate demand and offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was 1.61 lower at 84.12.
The hog slaughter was estimated at 434,000 head, 1,000 less than last week, but 5,000 more than last year.
The combination of improving South American weather and technically damaged charts, corn and beans futures suddenly look quite vulnerable. Lower feed costs could further feed the fire of swine herd expansion.