A very slow day in the cash and futures market

Although cattle country was essentially quiet; DTN reported a few deals to regional buyer in the North at 210.00, 1.00 to 2.00 above last weeks’ top. Needless to say, most of the week’s trade will have to wait until Thursday or Friday. Asking prices are around 132.00 to 133.00 in the South, and 210.00 plus in the North. Cattle slaughter was estimated at 43,000 head 73,000 less than last week and not comparable to last year as it was a holiday.

Boxed beef cutout values were steady on choice and higher on select on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was up .17 at 198.69 and select was 1.46 higher at 191.88.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled10 higher to 35 points lower. The nearby contracts lost some ground to the deferred contracts. There was some talk about the fire that broke out last night at Cargill’s beef plant in Dodge City, Kansas. Damage assessment at this time is unknown although no one was injured. The plant will probably be down through the balance of the week. DTN is reporting that Cargill officials indicated other company plans may be required to pick up any void in production caused by the fire. December settled .35 lower at 132.35, and February was down .22 at 133.72.

Feeder cattle settled 17 higher to 50 lower, with futures pressured by spillover selling from the live pit as well as a general lack of selling interest. January settled .42 lower at 166.25, and March was down .45 at 166.65.

Cattle receipts at South Dakota auctions last week totaled 31,306 head. Compared to the previous week, feeder steers were steady to 3.00 higher, except 700 to 850 pounds 1.00 to 3.00 lower with instances of 3.00 to 4.00 lower. Feeder heifers were steady to 2.00 higher with instances of 3.00 higher. Very good demand for cattle weighing less than 700 pounds, moderate to good demand for the heavier weights. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 574 pounds brought 192.76 per hundredweight. 574 pound heifers traded at 176.96.

Lean hogs were mostly lower. Given a general lack of trading interest, lower seemed to be the price direction of least resistance. After all, both the discounted cash index and the premium status of the board hardly motivated preoccupied buyers. February was down .32 at 85.87, and April was up .10 at 91.05.

Missouri direct base carcass meat price is steady from 71.00 to 74.00. Illinois direct barrows and gilts are steady from 56.00 to 60.00 on a live basis.

The pork carcass cutout value closed 69 higher FOB plant at 85.89.

There’s a good chance hog buyers already have most of the week’s kill needs in hand. If so, their spending incentive today and after Christmas could be very minimal.

Tuesday’s hog kill was estimated at 173,000 head, 265,000 less than last week, last year was a holiday so no comparison.

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