Seasonal weight slide begins in hogs

Feedlot country was quiet on Thursday afternoon with only a few scattered bids of 125.00 live and 200.00 dressed reported. Asking prices are around 128.00 plus in the South and 205.00 plus in the North. It looks like significant trade will not develop until Friday. The cattle kill at 119,000 head is 4,000 smaller than last week, and 6,000 less than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were steady to weak on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice beef was down .54 at 190.79, and select was .24 lower at 184.25.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled unchanged to 67 points lower. The live cattle futures market remained volatile on Thursday with aggressive losses and gains seen during the last few hours of trade. Traders had hoped for higher boxed beef values at midday and when they came in lower additional market pressure set in. Traders are concerned about follow through liquidation through the end of the week April settled .67 lower at 126.20, and June was down .45 at 121.37.

Feeder cattle suffered triple digit losses despite lower corn futures prices. Traders in the feeder pit were unable to find sure footing according to DTN. April contracts led the market lower as commercial pressure was evident.  April ended 2.07 lower at 134.40, and May was down, .85 at 140.95.

Cattle receipts at the Huss Platte Valley Auction in Nebraska totaled 3520 head on Wednesday. Compared to last week, steers over 700 pounds sold 2.00 to 4.00 lower and heifers over 700 pounds sold steady to 3.00 lower. There were not enough comparable weights less than 700 pounds on feeders for an adequate market trend. However, a lower undertone was noted. Demand was good for lightweight grass type cattle, cow calf pairs with moderate demand for feeder cattle. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 averaging 828 pounds averaged 129.21. 784 pound heifers brought 123.92.

Lean hogs settled 25 points higher to 25 lower. Lean hogs backed away from early gains with pressure in the corn market and uncertainty about pork and cash hog prices limiting buyer interest. Trade was extremely sluggish. Barrow and gilt prices in the major direct trade areas were not reported due to confidentiality and that leant additional pressure to the market. May settled .17 lower at 87.95, and June was up .25 at 90.60.

There was slow market activity with light demand in the cash hog trade on Thursday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .52 higher at 79.18, the West was up .56 at 79.91, and the East was 1.06 lower at 73.20. Terminal hogs closed steady from 50.00 to 54.00 on a live basis.

The afternoon mandatory pork report at plants had the pork carcass value up .41 at 84.31, with picnics, hams and ribs lower and loins sharply higher.

Iowa barrows and gilts last week averaged 276.5 pounds, .7 pound lighter than the prior week and only .1 pound heavier than 2012. The seasonal weight slide is beginning that typically extends into midsummer.

Thursday’s hog kill was estimated at 420,000 head, 22,000 more than last week and 3,000 greater than 2012.


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