Market News

Live cattle futures lower ahead of direct business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were lower, and feeders were mixed watching corn and waiting for direct business to develop.  December live cattle closed $1.05 lower at $135.87 and February live cattle closed $1.40 lower at $137.90.  January feeder cattle closed $.87 lower at $164.85 and March feeder cattle closed $.05 lower at $166.50. 

It was a quiet Tuesday for direct cash cattle trade activity.  Bids did surface in the South at $138 live.  Asking prices were at $143 to $145 live in the South, however, the North was not established.  Significant trade volume will likely develop in the latter half of the week.     

At the Callaway Livestock Center in Missouri, compared to last week, there was a much heavier offering of steer calves weighing from 450 to 650 pounds, which sold $8 to $12 higher, with spots of $15 higher.  Yearlings over 650 pounds were scarce.  Feeder heifers 450 to 600 pounds were steady to $5 higher.  Yearlings over 650 pounds were lightly tested.  The USDA says there was a very good offering of good quality weaned steers, all of which sold on a very active market and reached very high price levels.  Demand was good for the moderate offerings.  Heifer calves sold with moderate to good demand.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 62% steers and 37% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 500 to 537 pounds brought $180 to $191 and feeder steers 603 to 644 pounds brought $161.25 to $176.75.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 450 to 496 pounds brought $153 to $159.50 and feeder heifers 671 pounds brought $150.50. 

Boxed beef was sharply lower on light demand for heavy offerings.  Choice was $5.90 lower at $271.68 and Select was $1.73 lower at $260.29.  The Choice/Select spread was $11.39. Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – even on the week and the year. 

Lean hog futures were mostly lower, unwinding spreads with additional pressure from the broader markets.  December lean hogs closed $.97 higher at $73.37 and February lean hogs closed $.95 lower at $79.97. 

Cash hogs closed higher with a solid negotiated run. Processors had to work harder to move their desired numbers on Tuesday.  All eyes remain on the availability of market-ready hogs.  Demand for US pork on the global market remains strong, and the industry expects that to continue, however, there is some long-term demand concern and that is adding pressure to prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.45 higher with a base range of $53 to $60 and a weighted average of $56.60; both the Iowa/Minnesota and the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $58.06.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $3 higher at $62. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $62 to $72, barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $32 to $39, and boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $10 to $15. 

Pork values closed lower – down $1.01 at $86.70.  Hams, loins, and picnics were lower.  Ribs, butts, and bellies were all higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 480,000 head – even on the week and down 8,000 on the year. 

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