Cattle futures limit higher at midweek
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, both live and feeder cattle futures ended the day sharply higher on oversold signals, higher cash trade, and continued sharp gains in wholesale values. Both contracts will trade with expanded limits on Thursday. June live cattle closed $3 higher at $89.47 and August live cattle closed $3 higher at $95.45. May feeder cattle closed $4.50 higher at $124.10 and August feeder cattle closed $4.50 higher at $132.75.
Another round of light direct cash cattle trade developed on Wednesday. Live deals in the South are at $110. That’s $10 higher than last week’s totals in Texas and $9 higher in Kansas. Business in the North has been relatively quiet. There was a light trade yesterday with dressed deals mostly $145 to $150 with a few spots of $170. There were a handful of live deals in Iowa on Wednesday at $180.
At the Interstate Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to last week feeder steers and heifers were steady to firm with several near 600 pounds $2 to $3 higher. The disruption to the supply chain continues to restrict the industry’s ability to move cattle through the food supply chain. Receipts were up on the week and down on the year. Feeder supply included 46 percent steers and 31 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 455 to 497 pounds brought $152.50 to $164.50 and feeder steers 505 to 543 pounds brought $149.50 to $159. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 454 to 495 pounds brought $130 to $141 and feeder heifers 516 to 525 pounds brought $127 to $135.75.
Boxed beef closed sharply higher on heavy demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $20.19 higher at $449.18 and Select closed $21.25 higher at $431.96. The Choice/Select spread is $17.22. Estimated cattle slaughter is 82,000 head – up 10,000 on the week and down 37,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed sharply higher on oversold signals with additional support from sharply higher wholesale values during the session. May lean hogs closed $1.95 higher at $68.10 and June lean hogs closed $1.30 higher at $65.57.
Cash hogs closed steady with moderate negotiated numbers. The cash hog market is struggling as it waits to see some increased activity in the processing sector. The processing slowdowns and shutdowns are putting a significant strain on the food supply chain as a few grocery and retail stores have announced they will be limiting purchases. The bottleneck comes at a time when supplies of market-ready hogs are more than ample and there are hogs backing up at the producer level. Producers are doing all they can to hold hogs, but weights continue to rise. In fact, this week’s weights jumped to 291.4 pounds, that’s a 5.3-pound increase from last week and 5.6 pounds more than year-ago levels. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.04 higher with a base range of $36 to $38 for a weighted average of $36.40. Prices at the regional directs were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are steady today at $24. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were weak with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $7 to $20. Barrow and gilt prices were steady with light demand for heavy offerings at $10 to $15. Boars brought $1 to $5.
Pork values closed higher – up $1.48 at $115.06. Bellies closed more than $13 higher. Ribs and picnics were higher. Loins were steady and hams and butts were lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 312,000 head, that’s an increase of 46,000 on the week, but still a decline of 159,000 on the year.