The cash cattle trade on Friday afternoon was quiet with business apparently done for the week. Light to moderate trade developed in most areas through the noon hour with live prices generally 1.00 lower than last week from 125.00 to 127.00. Northern dressed deals ranged from 200.00 to 201.00. 2.00 to 3.00 lower. A combination of sharply lower futures and eroding carcass value worked to soften feedlot asking prices and allow packers to save money in terms of live inventory. Some of the selling interest was probably motivated by perceptions of decent basis opportunities. The weekly slaughter was estimated at 606,000 head, 11,000 greater than the previous week and 12,000 smaller than 2012.
Boxed beef cutout values were weak to lower on very light demand and light offerings. Choice beef was down .56 at 195.76, and select was 1.20 lower at 193.93.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 150 to 227 points lower. The market was pressured by demand worries, long liquidation and technical selling. The April futures blew through the 127.00 support level and the front month set new contract lows. April settled 2.27 lower at 125.77, and June was down 1.85 at 121.30.
Feeder cattle ended the session 160 to 270 in the red on the inability for live cattle futures to hold in the previous price range of 127.00 a hundredweight. Deferred futures tested limit losses through the end of the year, as concerns of tighter cattle supplies were not enough to keep buyers interested. March ended at 136.67 down 1.20 and April was 2.45 lower at 139.10.
Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri auctions totaled 322,150 head this week. Compared to last week feeder steers and heifers traded mostly steady to 5.00 lower. However some reporters commented on stocker type feeder steers with the right amount of quality and proper condition selling 5.00 to 10.00 higher. Pressure continues to weigh heavy on the market for those cattle heading to corn rations. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 723 pounds brought 138.06 per hundredweight. 722 pound heifers averaged 128.68.
Lean hogs settled 60 to 130 points lower. Sharp losses settled into the lean hog futures following widespread pressure over the livestock markets. The lack of cash market support at midday as well as growing concerns about upcoming demand caused triple digit losses to hold in most contracts. April was down 1.20 at 79.67 and May was .60 lower at 89.20.
Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.46 lower at 73.07 on a carcass basis, the West was down .67 at 72.78, and the East was 1.56 lower at 72.85. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady to 2.00 lower from 66.00 to 71.00. Terminal hogs were steady to .50 lower from 47.00 to 55.00.
Pork trading was very slow, with light demand and mostly light to moderate offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was 1.51 higher at 79.06.
With less than a few weeks until the spring grilling season begins, one can’t help but suspect that wholesale pork prices are nearing a bottom with both foodservice and retailers waiting on jump into the market. .
The weekly hog kill at 2,203,000 head is 2,000 more than last week and 24,000 greater than last year.