The slaughter cattle trade this week set a new record high with live cattle in the South Plains 5.00 to 6.00 higher from 150.00 to 151.00. The live trade in the North was 4.00 higher from 151.00 to 152.00. Dressed sales were 7.00 to 10.00 higher at 240.00. Slaughter cattle on a national basis for negotiated cash trades through Friday morning totaled about 107,661 head.
The weekly cattle slaughter at 567,000 head is 28,000 more than the previous week, and 3,000 more than last year.
Boxed beef cutout values were sharply higher on moderate demand and light offerings. Choice beef was up 3.92 at 225.33, and select was 4.12 higher at 223.12.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange Live cattle contracts settled unchanged to 190 points higher. Traders caught in the expiring February contracts were focused on gains near daily limits on Friday. Other contracts were able to draw moderate buyer support back into the market following a lackluster morning of trade. The focus in the market is based on potential demand support through early March. The February contract expired at noon at 151.95, up 1.90, and April was up .52 at 144.97.
Feeder cattle ended the session 12 to 40 points lower. Feeders bounced higher briefly but market support was hard to find. The focus on trade seemed to be the lack of aggressive support late in the week in live cattle markets as traders are uncertain just how much support will redevelop early next month. March settled .12 lower at 171.70, and April was down .32 at 173.07.
Feeder cattle receipts at Missouri Auctions this week totaled 30,632 head. Compared to a week ago, feeder steers and heifers were uneven. A lower tone was prevalent across most classes and weights of feeder cattle with the majority selling steady to 5.00 lower. However enough steers and some heifers in the 500 to 650 range sold 2.00 to 5.00 higher. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 averaging 626 pounds averaged 191.23 per hundredweight. 626 pound heifers brought 168.38.
Lean hogs settled 65 points to limit higher. Aggressive buyer support was seen throughout the complex with all nearby contracts trading with triple digit gains. Higher cash and pork values were supportive to the futures. April settled up the 3.00 limit at 106.85, and May was 2.25 higher at 111.40.
Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 2.55 higher at 101.26 on a carcass basis, the West was up 2.08 at 100.59, and the East was 2.65 higher at 98.02. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady from 88.00 to 89.00. Terminal hogs were steady from 61.00 to 65.00 live.
The pork carcass value closed 2.21 higher at 105.11 FOB plant. All primals were higher.
Although lean futures are trading the market as though hog supplies have dropped off by 6-8%, we continue to slaughter more hogs than one year ago.
The weekly hog slaughter at 2,169,000 head is 56,000 more than last week and 7,000 greater than last year.