The feedlot cattle trade is slow to develop, with just a few bids in Kansas at 128.00 and in Nebraska at 196.00 on a dressed basis. The bids and asking prices are separated by a country mile, with producers in the South pricing their showlists at 128.00 and Northern feedlots firm in their resolve to get 203.00 plus. Significant trade volume could be delayed until late in the week. The kill totaled 119,000 head, 3,000 below last week and 8,000 smaller than last year at this time.
Boxed beef cutout values were steady on choice and lower on select on moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was down .16 at 194.89 and select was down 1.69 at 174.83.
Live cattle futures contracts settled 2 to 40 points higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday. There were light to moderate gains with traders focusing on the support in outside markets and its effect on drawing increased noncommercial support back into the market. With beef prices slipping at midweek and cash markets undeveloped, the live cattle trade seemed to be looking for additional direction, and much of that direction came from gains in the grain complex. December settled .02 higher at 126.15, and February was up .37 at 130.52.
Feeder cattle ended the session 10 to 77 higher in a light trade. Support came from the live pit, but gains were limited by the advance in the grain markets. January settled .82 higher at 146.40, and March was up .77 at 149.05.
Philip Livestock Auction, Philip, South Dakota had receipts of 7037 feeder cattle on Tuesday. No price comparison was made as the last sale was three weeks ago. There was very good demand for many long strings and packages of feeder steers and heifers which sold on a very active market for the weaned calf special. 727 head of feeder steers averaging 520 lbs. brought 176.51 per hundredweight. 345 heifers with an average weight of 519 brought 156.18 at Philip.
Lean hogs settled 55 higher to 20 lower. The lean hog issues bounced higher and lower with the initial gains coming under pressure through much of the morning. But buyer interest redeveloped following the idea cash markets may continue to climb higher along with support from the cattle complex and higher pork cutout values. December was .55 higher at 85.00, and February was up .12 at 85.65.
It was an active hog market with good demand on Wednesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .38 higher at 85.99 on a carcass basis, the west was up .27 at 85.75, and the East was .26 higher at 83.92. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 6.00 higher from 76.00 to 80.00. Terminal hogs closed steady to 1.00 higher live from 53.00 to 58.00.
Pork trading was moderate, with mostly light demand and light to moderate offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was down .17 at 85.82.
While margins look ugly on paper, pork packers are planning another large Saturday kill, probably between 200,000 and 210,000 head. Somebody must be confident about moving product through midmonth.
The hog slaughter at 433,000 head was the same as last week, but 2,000 greater than last year.