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Cattle futures lower as direct business unfolds

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower watching direct business develop. April live cattle closed $.12 lower at $162.30 and June lives closed $.25 lower at $155.90.  April feeders closed $.32 lower at $194.37 and May feeders closed $.77 lower at $198.77. 

There was a moderate round of direct cash cattle business reported on Wednesday.  Live deals were marked at $163 in the South, $1 lower than the prior week’s weighted averages.  Dressed business in the North was marked at $264 to $265, steady to $1 higher than the previous week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  At least some additional business is expected to take place over the balance of the week.

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, the majority of the offering consisted of yearlings which were steady to $6 higher.  Calves under 600 pounds were lightly tested but sold mostly steady with spots of $5 higher.  The USDA says demand was good for a moderate supply that featured several multi-load lots of yearlings.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply was 48% steer and 62% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 750 to 797 pounds brought $198.25 to $204.35 and feeder steers 906 pounds brought $182.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 655 to 692 pounds brought $188 to $195 and feeder heifers 717 to 745 pounds brought $179.50 to $193.10. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for solid offerings.  Choice was $1.38 higher at $281.30 and Select closed $1.73 lower at $269.82.  The Choice/Select spread is $11.48.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – even on the week and up 3,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were lower, pressured by the lower midday pork and long-term demand uncertainty.  April lean hogs closed $.97 lower at $76.07 and May lean hogs closed $1.45 lower at $183.25. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a moderate negotiated run.  Processors started the day a bit more aggressive in their procurement efforts to move their desired numbers but backed off in the afternoon.  While demand has held relatively strong, there is some serious concern it could be impacted by ongoing uncertainties surrounding the global economy.  Supplies of market-ready hogs are solid and that continues to give packers a bit of an upper hand. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.38 lower with a base range of $70 to $79.50 and a weighted average of $77.63; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.51 lower with a weighted average of $78.01; the Western Corn Belt closed $.47 lower with a weighted average of $78.06.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $48 to $60. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $46 to $58.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed lower – down $1.66 at $79.86.  Hams were sharply lower.  Picnics and bellies were lower.  Butts, loins, and ribs were higher.  Estimated hog slaughter was 478,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up 4,000 on the year. 

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