Market News

Cattle shrug off bearish cash, boxed beef business

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were mostly higher, following through on Wednesday’s bounce, but remaining wary of signs cash and wholesale business have topped out for now. Cattle are also watching for any new developments in Brazil. June was up $.47 at $122.92 and August was $.82 higher at $119.65.

Feeder cattle futures were higher on follow through buying and the lower corn. May was up $.30 at $142.27 and August was $1.62 higher at $149.35.

Direct cash cattle business in the south was light to moderate, but tailed off as the day wore on. Business was mostly at $134 in Kansas and Texas, about $4 lower than last week, with a few live sales in Nebraska at $135. Dressed business in the north had a really wide range, but traded mostly at $213, down $8 from last week’s weighted average in Nebraska. Asking prices were $136 to $138 live and $215 to $220 dressed, with bids at $133 live and $212 to $216 dressed.

Boxed beef closed lower on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice was down $.96 at $247.21 and Select was $.27 lower at $221.66. The estimated cattle slaughter was 107,000 head, down 9,000 on the week and 6,000 on the year.

At the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center in Missouri Wednesday, compared to the previous week, feeder steer and heifer calves were $3 to $5 lower and yearlings were steady to $3 lower. Supply and demand were light to moderate. 51% of the run was steers and 70% of feeders weighed less than 600 pounds. 400 to 500 pound feeder steers brought $166 to $180 and 500 to 600 pounders sold at $148.50 to $177.50. 400 to 500 feeder heifers ranged from $135 to $168 and 500 to 600 pounds were reported at $135 to $160.

Lean hog futures were mixed on the mixed cash, spread trade, and demand uncertainties. Near term, packer demand is expected to stay solid with tighter market ready numbers, but after that, the picture’s a little less clear. June was up $.25 at $79.15 and July was $.27 higher at $79.27.

Cash hogs were mixed. After yesterday’s mixed, just about unchanged, finish, buyers took a step back, assessing market ready numbers and processing margins. USDA’s estimated slaughter numbers have generally been down on the week, but still above year ago levels.

Iowa/Southern Minnesota barrows and gilts closed $.88 lower at $67 to $72 for a weighted average of $71.11, the Western Cornbelt was down $.87 at $67 to $72 with an average of $71.11, and national direct business was $.81 lower at $67 to $72 for an average of $70.62. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady to $2 higher at $47 to $50. Missouri direct butchers were steady to $4 higher at $63 to $66 with supply and demand both called light to moderate. Sows were steady at $38 to $50. Illinois direct sows were weak at $40 to $52 on moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $46 to $52 on good demand for moderate offerings. Illinois boars ranged from $7 to $27.

The pork carcass cutout value was $.26 lower at $87. Ribs and bellies were higher, all other primals were lower. The estimated hog slaughter was 436,000 head, 2,000 less than last week, but 36,000 more than last year.

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