Cash cattle trade is slow to develop

The cash cattle trade remained at a standstill on Tuesday afternoon with virtually no buying interest evident across the feeding area. DTN says they assume that asking prices are around 126.00 to 128.00 in the South and 203.00 to 205.00 in the North, but frankly producers aren’t talking much either. Significant trade volume may be postponed until Thursday or Friday. The kill totaled 123,000 head, 3,000 below last week, and 2,000 smaller than a year ago.

Boxed beef cutout values were weak to lower on light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was .72 lower at 186.89 and select was down 1.32 at 181.10.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 22 to 62 points lower. Profit taking after yesterday’s sharply higher trade and cautious buying interest were the main features of Tuesday’s session. Struggling boxed beef cutout values lent additional pressure to the market. February was down .67 at 128.07, and April was .423 lower at 132.97.

Feeder cattle settled 10 to 107 points in the red. Trade volume in the feeder pit was very light. Prices were lower in the lackluster setting with many contracts just drifting in the negative direction of the live pit. March was down 1.07 at 148.82, and April feeders were .92 lower at 152.37.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Joplin Regional Stockyards on Monday totaled 5692 head. Compared to last week, steer calves over 425 lbs. were steady, heifer calves over 425 lbs. steady to 3.00 higher, steer and heifer calves weighing less than 425 lbs. 5.00 to 10.00 higher. Yearling feeders were 1.00 to 3.00 higher. Demand was moderate to good for a moderate supply. Feeder steers medium and large 1 weighing 674 lbs. averaged 153.07 per hundredweight. 665 lb. heifers brought an average of 140.36.

Lean hogs ended the session mostly 15 to 57 points higher with only spot February modestly lower. The majority of the contracts were supported by ideas that market fundamentals over the next two quarters will be generally price friendly. February settled .07 lower at 97.10, and April was .57 higher at 89.62.

There was slow market activity in the hog market on Tuesday afternoon with light demand. The Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.60 lower at 84.14 on a carcass basis; the West was down 1.38 at 84.22, and the East closed .77 lower at 81.44. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady from 79.00 to 80.00. Terminal barrows and gilts were fully steady from 56.00 to 61.50 live.

Pork trading was moderate with mostly light demand for retail cuts on mostly moderate offerings and moderate to good demand on processing cuts on light offerings. The pork carcass cutout value was up .95 at 86.58.

Pork processing margins remain poor despite an improvement in pork carcass value. Some processors appear to have slowed kill schedules and Tuesday’s hog kill was estimated at 422,000 head, 7,000 less than last week but 8,000 more than last year. Wednesdays’ cash market is expected to be steady to weak.

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