Cattle trading in the Northern and Southern Plains was limited on Friday with light demand. Thursday was the last reported market in these regions with live sales at 123.00 down 2.00 from last week and dressed sales 4.00 lower at 196.00.Relatively light trade volume totals at 63,541 head does suggest packers will start the week short bought. The weekly kill at 596,000 head, is 3,000 greater than last week, but 14,000 less than 2012.
Boxed beef cutout values were lower on the choice and higher on select on light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice boxed beef was down 1.58 at 181.95, and select was up .80 at 180.40
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 30 to 67 points higher. The mid-morning rally in the feeder cattle futures sparked the development of buyer support in the live pit. Even though there still remain concerns surrounding the pressure in the wholesale beef values, the late week buyer momentum firmed. February settled .60 higher at 126.50, and April was up .67 at 130.45.
Feeder cattle settled 40 to 90 points higher. The initial weakness seen at the opening bell quickly eroded and gave way to sharp midmorning support. Although the tone of the market remained firm, the contracts closed off the day’s highs as end of the week positioning limited additional trade activity. The March contract settled .70 higher at 143.37, and April was up .40 at 145.62.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Ogallala, Livestock Auction in Nebraska totaled 6300 head on Thursday. Compared to two weeks ago steers and heifers were 4.00 to 6.00 lower. The trend showed a slower demand. 470 steers’ medium and large 1 averaging 682 lbs. brought 155.14 per hundredweight. 446 heifers weighing 570 lbs. traded at 147.49.
Lean hogs settled 25 points higher to 35 lower. The continued weakness in wholesale pork values as well as the pressure in the cash hog market left the lean futures on the defensive once again. The market was sluggish for much of the session with only the summer contracts closing higher. April settled .07 lower at 84.25, and May was down .35 at 91.62.
The hog market trend was not well established with slow market activity and light demand. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .95 lower at 81.44 on a carcass basis, the West is down .59 at 81.70, and the East was 1,42 lower at 81.10. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady to 2.00 lower at 78.00. Terminal hogs were steady to 2.00 lower from 54.00 to 58.00.
Pork trading was very slow, with light to moderate demand and offerings. Pork carcass value was down .10 at 80.00.
Given the way hog buyers keep lowering bids even in the face of limited county receipts suggests that packers have their slaughter needs pretty well in hand for the foreseeable future.
The weekly hog slaughter at 2,145,000 head was 6,000 more than last week, but 26,000 less than last year.