Feedlot country was quiet on Wednesday afternoon with just a handful of trades reported earlier in the day at 124.00 to 125.00 and 198.00 dressed in Nebraska. Country psychology has improved a bit thanks to the decent bounce in live cattle futures. Nevertheless there remains plenty of caution to go around to buyers and sellers alike. Given the limited trade volume, another round of light to moderate business is possible Thursday and or Friday. The balance of the showlists are priced around 126.00 plus in the South and 200.00 to 202.00 in the North. The kill totaled 119,000 head, 2,000 less than last week and 4,000 smaller than last year.
Boxed beef cutout values closed weak to lower on light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice beef was down .77 at 193.41, and select was .62 lower at 193.03.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 37 to 92 points higher after starting the day moderately to sharply lower following the early losses in the feeder pit. But the inability to draw additional selling pressure into the market sparked some buyer momentum. The activity was driven by commercial support and that pushed the contracts higher by midday. April cattle settled .75 higher at 126.05, and June was up .92 at 121.90.
Feeder cattle ended the session 25 to 90 points in the red. Significant early pressure in the market eased and that allowed traders to take a more sensible approach to the lack of additional direction in the market. Feed price levels and long term demand continued to be the main feature of the market. March settled .90 lower at 135.10, and April was down .72 at 137.65.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozark’s Regional Stockyards at West Plains, Missouri totaled 3909 head. Steers weighing less than 450 pounds traded 10.00 to 15.00 lower, weights over 450 pounds were 8.00 lower, except 550 to 700 pounds suitable for grass sold steady to 3.00 lower. Heifers were 3.00 to 8.00 lower under 550 pounds and 2.00higher to 3.00 lower on other weights depending on quality and flesh condition. Feeder steers averaging 677 pounds averaged 141.02 per hundredweight. 615 pound heifers brought 132.53.
Lean hogs settled 10 to 42 points lower. Traders continued to focus their attention on the lack of cash market support as well as additional concerns of deteriorating pork demand through the spring and early summer. The April contract gained nearly 1.00 from the session lows as commercial selling seemed to run out of gas. April settled .35 lower at 77.87 and May was down .47 at 87.52. June was the only contract to end higher at 88.50 up .22.
There was slow market activity with light demand in the hogs on Wednesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.34 lower at 72.07 on a carcass basis, the West was down 1.05 at 72.18, and the East is .75 lower at 69.61. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 65.00 to 70.00. Terminal hogs were steady with an instance of 2.00 higher from 47.00 to 54.00.
Pork trading was slow to moderate, with light to moderate demand and offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was down 2.03 at 76.41.
The cash hog market will be affected by the upcoming Easter Holiday break, with some plants dark on Good Friday and others will take Easter Monday off. Packer bids are expected to be lower through much of next week.
Hog slaughter was estimated at 426,000 head, 3,000 less than last week, but 10,000 more than last year.