Bullish feeders are expected to price cattle higher on Monday

Except for a few cleanup deals in Colorado and Nebraska at 144.00 live, cattle country was very quiet on Friday afternoon with business essentially done for the week. The live cattle market has now advanced more than $10.00 since the first of the year. Look for bullish feedlot managers to price showlists sharply higher once again on Monday, probably around 145.00 plus in the South, and 233.00 to 235.00 in the North. The weekly cattle slaughter at 598,000 head, is 29,000 more than the previous week, but down 14,000 from 2013.

Boxed beef cutout values are higher on moderate demand and very light offerings. Choice boxed beef was up 2.92 at 231.71 and select was 2.81 higher at 229.32.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 20 points higher to 40 lower. Profit taking and weekend positioning were the main factors in the market on Friday. But the aggressive fundamentals seen through the week was too much to keep buyers from staying out of the market, especially in the nearby contracts. February settled .20 higher at 140.35, and April was up .07 at 139.30.

Feeder cattle ended the session mostly lower with only the soon to expire January in the black. The trade remained sluggish and squaring market positions ahead of the weekend was the main focus of the trade. January settled .20 higher at 170.00 and March was down .32 at 167.92.

A big run of feeder cattle at Missouri auctions this week with 56,537 head, more than double that of the run the previous week. Compared to the previous week, markets with comparable sales were steady to 5.00 higher, with instances of 10.00 to 13.00 higher. It was another exciting week for sellers, as they watched their cattle sell at personal highs. Many bystanders could be seen shaking their heads in disbelief at the current market prices. With corn prices fully 3.00 less than a year ago and soybeans and wheat solidly 1.00 to 2.00 lower, feeders remain optimistic. Additionally, wheat grazing is better than it was the last couple of years and talk continues about the tight supply chain for feeder cattle. 2621 head of feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 622 pounds average 187.40 per hundredweight. 1436 heifers weighing 623 pounds traded at 168.09.

Lean hogs settled unchanged to 70 points in the red. Moderate pressure held through the lean futures as traders concentrated on end of the week positioning more than any other factor. The pressure in most markets on Friday led to a lack of interest from buyers who were willing to wait until markets open on Tuesday and see just how aggressive meat market fundamentals are through the last half of the month. February settled .70 lower at 86.17 and April was down .35 at 91.90.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 2.09 lower at 76.51 on a carcass basis. The West was down 1.92 at 76.50, and the East was .78 lower at 76.23. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady from 71.00 to 73.00. Terminal hogs were lightly tested on a live basis at steady prices from 51.00 to 58.00.

The pork value FOB plant is 1.37 higher at 87.51 in the afternoon report on a negotiated basis.

The combination of defensive corn prices and the stubborn persistence of large deferred premiums in lean hog futures surely represent a classic formula for expanding herd size and pork production. 

The weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 2,263,000 head, 188,000 more than last week and 57,000 more than a year ago.

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