Market News

A strong start to the week for cattle, hog futures

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mostly higher, and feeders were higher ahead of widespread direct cash business.  June lives closed $.07 lower at $164.32 and August live cattle closed $.30 higher at $162.75.  August feeder cattle closed $2.07 higher at $231.05 and September feeders closed $1.87 higher at $233.85. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity had a quiet, very typical quiet start to the week. Bids and asking prices were slow to surface.  Showlists this week are slightly higher in Kansas and in Nebraska/Colorado, but somewhat lower in Texas.  Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until midweek or later. 

At midsession, at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, feeder cattle and calves have not been well tested.  Demand has been solid for light receipts, which were limited by heavy rains that fell across much of the state over the weekend.  Quality is plain to average.  Receipts are down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 64% steers and 76% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 650 to 682 pounds brought $212 to $217 and feeder steers 754 to 791 pounds brought $201 to $209.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 653 to 675 pounds brought $201 to $210 and feeder heifers 811 to 835 pounds brought $179 to $187.35.   

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for light offerings.  Choice was $2.63 lower at $301.98 and Select was $.03 higher at $284.71.  The Choice/Select spread is $17.27. Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – even on the week and up 3,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher on demand optimism and the firm midday move in pork.  June lean hogs closed $2.05 higher at $86.15 and July lean hogs closed $2.17 higher at $87.50. 

Cash hog prices at the major direct markets were not reported on Monday due to confidentiality.  There was a light negotiated run.  The cash hog market has had some strong starts to the week recently as packers have been more aggressive in their procurement efforts and bid up to move needed numbers.  But, with ample supplies of market-ready hogs, packers have more leverage.  Demand for US pork has been relatively strong on the global market, and the industry is optimistic that will hold.  The USDA did reduce the price outlook for pork in its latest supply and demand report, keeping the tone bearish for markets.

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets were $4 higher than their last reported test. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $9 to $18.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $43 to $53.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.97 at $84.38. Bellies, ribs, and butts were all solidly higher.  Picnics were firm. Loins and hams were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 469,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and 2,000 on the year.  Friday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 456,000 head. 

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