Cattle country remained very quiet on Wednesday afternoon with just a few bids reported in the South at 121.00, for the most part bids and asking prices were poorly defined. A few of the showlists have been priced around 125.00 to 126.00 live and 198.00 plus dressed. The best guess is that significant trade will once again be delayed until sometime on Friday. The kill was estimated at 124,000 head, 2,000 more than last week, but 3,000 greater than last year.
Boxed beef cutout values were steady to firm on moderate to fairly good demand and moderate offerings. Choice beef ended the day .46 higher at 196.56, and select was up .21 at 182.13.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 7 to 20 points lower. Pressure in the grain markets once again impacted buyer support in the live cattle futures. Early losses were as much as 60 points, but buyers slowly stepped back into the market. There appeared to be little additional market direction on Wednesday, and that left most traders comfortable with the continued moderate pressure. October settled .20 lower at 126.00, and December was down .20 at 129.90.
Feeder cattle ended the session 15 points higher to 37 lower. The pressure in corn and soybean prices on Wednesday was not enough to draw buyers back to the market. Moderate pressure held across the live cattle futures contracts which created pressure in the lightly traded feeder cattle markets. September feeders ended .15 lower at 157.02, and October was also down .15 at 159.25.
Feeder cattle receipts at South Dakota Auctions last week totaled 10,789 head. Compared to the previous week, feeder steers were 3.00 to 5.00 higher, with a few instances of steady to 4.00 higher on weights over 900 pounds. Feeder heifers trended 4.00 to 8.00 higher, with a few 7 to 850 weights 10.00 higher. There was a very good demand for all weights of calves and yearlings. 971 feeder steers with an average weight of 879 pounds traded at 156.87 per hundredweight. 795 heifers weighing 878 averaged 148.62.
Lean hogs settled 10 to 112 points in the black. The moderate to strong gains held in the nearby contracts while pressure was seen through the far deferred contracts. The short term supply situation and expectations that lean hog futures are short bought drew price support to the October futures. The moderate to sharp losses in grain prices pressured deferred contracts based on the potential production increases. October settled 1.12 higher at 89.12, and December was up .87 at 85.85.
There was slow hog market activity with light demand on Wednesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 1.08 higher on a carcass basis with a weighted average of 90.38, the West was 1.10 higher at 90.05, and the East was up .50 at 85.56. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 81.00 to 82.00. Terminal hogs closed 1.00 higher to 1.00 lower from 56.00 to 66.00 live.
The pork carcass value FOB Omaha was .09 higher at 94.89 on a negotiated basis.
DTN reports sow kills over the past five weeks have been running well below year ago levels and contrary to the five year average. It looks like pork producers are definitely shifting into expansion gear.
Hog slaughter was estimated at 432,000 head, the same as last week, but 4,000 less than last year.