A record trading week in cattle country

Cattle country was quiet on Friday afternoon with record trading competed for the week. There was a light clean up trade in Nebraska at 139.00. This marks the second week that cattle have sold at all-time highs. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to predict that feedlot managers will be pricing cattle significantly higher again on Monday, The weekly kill totaled 521,000 head, 92,000 greater than the previous week, and 2,000 above 2013.

Boxed beef cutout values closed higher on light to moderate demand and light offerings. Choice boxed beef was up 1.86 at 202.41, and select was up 1.33 at 197.38.

Live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled 12 to 77 points higher. Every step higher at these levels constitutes history in the making. The moderate gains were supported by follow through buying interest, the premium status of feedlot cattle, and technical bullishness. Beef cutouts were also significantly higher in the morning report. February settled .67 higher at 136.30 and April was .77 higher at 136.57.

Feeder cattle ended the session 20 to 110 points higher. Feeders rolled along with the live pit, picking up a step or two lost to their counterparts on Thursday. January settled .62 higher at 167.62 and March was up 1.10 at 168.10.

Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri Auctions this week totaled 13,903 head. Compared to two weeks ago feeders weighing less than 650 pounds sold steady to mostly 10.00 higher those over 650 pounds were steady to mostly 5.00 higher. Receipts were light as many auctions remained dark between the holidays. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 519 pounds averaged 181.13 per hundredweight. 779 pound steers traded at 167.48. 576 pound heifers averaged 166.74. 767 pound heifers brought 156.25 at Missouri Auctions.

Hog futures were mixed but mostly 5 to 40 lower. Profit taking after Thursday’s higher market probably explains most of the action. But there wasn’t much of technical significance in the trade. February settled .40 lower at 86.67 and April was down .22 at 91.57.

There was moderate hog market activity with moderate demand on Friday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .81 lower, the West was down .67 with both at 78.00 on a carcass basis. Eastern hogs were .56 lower at 76.28. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed 2.00 higher at 73.00. Barrows and gilts at the terminals were steady to 2.00 higher from 51.00 to 60.00 live.

The pork cutout value FOB plant was 1.21 lower at 82.79 on a negotiated basis.

Laying down another round of higher bids on Thursday without generating a flood of country receipts, hog buyers seem to be finally falling into a seasonal pattern of greater spending as they work a smaller offering of market ready barrows and gilts.

The weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 2,011,000 head, 168,000 more than the previous week and 39,000 greater than 2013.


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