Market News

Direct cattle business steady to higher

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were steady to modestly lower on spread trade, the lower boxed beef trend, and profit taking after Wednesday’s limit up move. August was down $.45 at $117.42 and October held at $117.82.

Feeder cattle were higher, supported by the drop in corn, but not taking advantage of the expanded daily trading limits. August was $1.27 higher at $153.02 and September was up $1.30 at $152.97.

Direct cash cattle business was light to moderate by Thursday afternoon. Sales were reported at $120 on the live basis in Nebraska, steady with the top end of Wednesday’s range, and $190 dressed in the North, up on the week. DTN says those dressed sales were for delivery over the next couple of weeks. After the light to moderate activity Wednesday and Thursday, most of the week’s business has probably wrapped up. At the end of Thursday, scattered bids were reported at $120 live.

Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light to moderate demand for heavy offerings. Choice was down $2.84 at $209.85 and Select was $1.47 lower at $197.26. The estimated cattle slaughter of 118,000 head was down 2,000 on the week, but up 11,000 on the year.

At the Huss Platte Valley Auction feeder cattle sale, compared to two weeks ago, steers weighing 750 to 950 pounds were steady to $5 higher and heifers weighing 750 to 800 pounds were $4 higher. The USDA says the market was active on good buyer demand. 80% of the feeder offering were steers with almost 99% of feeder cattle weighing more than 600 pounds. 800 to 900 pound feeder steers sold at $151.75 to $160.50 and 915 to 970 pound steers brought $142 to $151.85. 770 to 780 pound feeder heifers ranged from $145.75 to $147.75 and 850 to 880 pound heifers were reported at $133.75 to $138.75.

Lean hog futures were mostly higher on spread trade, the mostly firm open at the direct markets, and position squaring relative to the cash index. July was $.17 higher at $92.75 and August was $.10 lower at $82.52.

Cash hogs were mixed, depending on packer demand and supply availability. Processing margins are good, but Saturday’s slaughter is expected to be minimal with the weekly kill seen at around 2.2 million head. The market’s getting ready for the eventual expansion of market ready numbers and looking for a seasonal top in the wholesale market.

Iowa/Southern Minnesota direct barrows and gilts closed $.26 higher at $82 to $88.50 for a weighted average of $87.79 and the Western Cornbelt was up $.44 at $82 to $88.50 with an average of $87.60, but the Eastern Cornbelt was $.84 lower at $85 to $88 for an average of $85.77 and national direct business was down $.06 at $82 to $88.50 with an average of $86.78. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $57 to $63. Missouri direct butchers were steady to $1 lower at $81 on light to moderate supply and demand. Sows were steady at $45 to $62. Illinois sows were firm at $58 to $66 on very good demand for heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were firm at $57 to $63 on good demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $10 to $45.

Pork closed $2.15 lower at $103.67. Loins were up, everything else was down, including a $12.32 drop in the ribs and a $6.97 loss in butts. The estimated hog slaughter was 440,000 head, an increase of 2,000 on the week and 8,000 on the year.

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