Cattle futures end the week lower
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mostly lower and feeder cattle were lower ahead of Friday’s On Feed numbers, which were bearish for markets. February live cattle closed $.40 lower at $137.92 and April lives were $1.07 lower at $142.10. March feeder cattle closed $1.65 lower at $163.30 and April feeders closed $1.40 lower at $168.12.
It was a quiet end to the week for direct cash cattle trade. Deals this week have been $218 dressed in the North, fully steady with the prior week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska. Many of those were marked for delayed delivery. Live deals in the South were at mostly $137, $1 to $1.50 higher than the previous week’s weighted averages.
At the Mitchell Livestock Market in South Dakota, compared to last week feeder steers 600 to 700 pounds were steady to $1 lower. Steers 700 to 850 pounds were steady to $1 higher. Steers 900 to 950 pounds were $2 lower. Feeder heifers 550 to 600 pounds were $2 higher and heifers 600 to 950 pounds were steady. The USDA says there were some load lots in the days offering and demand was good. Receipts were down on the week and up slightly on the year. Feeder supply included 61% steers and 88% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 601 to 646 pounds brought $172.25 to $189.50 and feeder steers 806 to 847 pounds brought $153.75 to $162.75. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 650 to 691 pounds brought $152 to $160.50 and feeder heifers 828 to 848 pounds brought $146 to $147.85.
According to the latest Hay Report from Missouri, hay consumption has been on the rise as the weather has turned much colder and cattle are waiting for hay to convert to warmth. The USDA says the supply of hay is moderate and demand is light to moderate. Prices are mostly steady. Alfalfa, supreme medium squares brought $200 to $250. Alfalfa, supreme small squares brought $8 to $12 per bale. Alfalfa, premium medium squares brought $160 to $200. Alfalfa, good large rounds brought $120 to $160. Alfalfa, good small squares brought $5 to $9 per bale. Alfalfa, fair large rounds brought $100 to $125. Alfalfa/grass mix, good/premium small squares brought $6 to $8 per bale.
Boxed beef closed mixed on moderate demand for light offerings. Choice closed $.57 lower at $292.41 and Select is $.15 higher at $282.33. The Choice/Select spread is $10.08. Estimated cattle slaughter is 114,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and down 6,000 on the year. Saturday’s estimated kill is 61,000 head, up 11,000 on the week and down 7,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed higher, supported by sharply higher pork values during the session. February lean hogs closed $1.27 higher at $86.20 and April lean hogs closed $.95 higher at $94.95.
Cash hogs closed sharply lower with fairly light negotiated purchases. Demand for US pork has been relatively strong on the global market and domestically, but there are some long-term concerns which has been adding pressure to prices. The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs and processors are moving their desired numbers without having to aggressively bid up. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.87 lower with a base range of $60 to $74.50 with a weighted average of $62.69; the Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $69.89; the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $66.42. Prices at the Iowa/Minnesota and the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
According to the USDA’s weekly Feeder Pig Report, early-weaned pigs were $2 per head higher and all feeder pigs were $8 per head higher. Demand was moderate for moderate offerings and receipts included 53% formulated prices. The Total Composite Cash Range for early-weaned pigs was $55 to $75 and a weighted average of $69.06. The Total Composite Formula Range for early-weaned pigs was $39.65 to $74.24. The weighted average for all early-weaned pig was $60.64 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $95.70.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady – to slightly higher at $45 to $47. The Walker Sale Barn in Iowa is reporting prices at $49 to $67. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for light to moderate offerings at $28 to $40. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $41 to $47. Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $10 to $15.
Pork values closed higher – up $1.05 at $93.29. Butts and hams were sharply higher. Picnics and ribs were higher. Loins were lower and bellies sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 445,000 head – up 23,000 on the week and down 41,000 on the year. Saturday’s estimated kill is 218,000 head – up 69,000 on the week and down 97,000 on the year.