Market News

Cash cattle country awaits Friday business

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were down and feeders closed mostly lower, with both generally unable to sustain gains because of the recent drop in direct cash prices. February live was $1.02 lower at $162.52 and April was down $.72 at $165.95. January feeders were the exception, up $.12 at $210.27, while March was down $.57 at $211.17.

Direct cash cattle trade was quiet on Thursday with no bids on the table. Light business was reported in most areas on Wednesday with live trade in the South at $171, $3 lower than last week’s weighted averages. Northern dressed sales were reported at mostly $271, $4 lower than the previous week. Wednesday’s mandatory totals are relatively light, so more trade is expected sometime on Friday.

At Hub City Livestock in South Dakota, feeder steers 600 to 649 pounds sold $3 to $4 lower compared to the most recent sale. Feeder heifers 500 to 599 pounds were $5 to $8 lower. USDA says demand was moderate to good for yearlings and mostly moderate for calves. Feeder supply included 56% steers and 62% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 646 pounds brought $250 to $277. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 907 to 948 pounds sold for $191.50 to $207.50.

Boxed beef closed lower. Choice was down $.72 at $289.84 and Select was $1.07 lower at $258.83. The Choice/Select spread was $31.01.

Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – up 5,000 on the week and even on the year.

Lean hog futures were lower, pressured by the cash and wholesale business during the session. February was down $.152 at $67.77 and April was $1.32 lower at $74.62.

Cash hogs were mostly steady to lower with light closing negotiated numbers for the major direct markets. It looks like many of the major buyers have already moved most of the market ready numbers needed this week, using those ready numbers, higher average weights, and questions about sustained demand for leverage. The USDA’s updated Quarterly Hogs and Pigs numbers are out later this month.

Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were down $2.61 with a base range of $47 to $55 and weighted average price of $51.71. The Iowa/Minnesota was up $.95 at $53.14. The Western Corn Belt was down $.48 at $51.71. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were trending steady at $50; sows were lower at $36 to $39; boars were $10 to $16. At Illinois, slaughter sows were $2 lower with a range of $36 to $48 and boars were $5 to $21.

Pork values closed higher – up $.40 at $83.60.

Estimated hog slaughter was 488,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and down 6,000 on the year.

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