Market News

Cattle futures lower, shrugging off higher cash business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day lower watching corn and waiting for the rest of the week’s direct business to develop.  August lives closed $.95 lower at $172.25 and October lives closed $.92 lower at $174.70.  August feeders closed $.45 lower at $238.65 and September feeders closed $.80 lower at $241.47. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity was relatively quiet on Thursday.  There was a very light round of business in the South at $185 live.  But for the most part, the South was in a standoff as feedlots held out for higher prices, refusing to take packer offers at $183.  Asking prices held firm at $186 to $190 live in the South and $304-plus dressed in the North. More business will likely develop sometime on Friday. Business got underway on Tuesday, and so far this week, deals in the North were marked at mostly $300 dressed, $10 higher than the prior week’s weighted average basis.  There were a few deals that hit $304 in Nebraska.  Live business in the North had a range of $189 to $191, $3 to $5 higher than the previous week’s weighted averages.  There were just a handful of deals reported in the South with a range of $180 to $184, $3 to $7 higher than the prior week’s weighted averages.  

At the Green City Livestock Auction in Missouri, steers and heifers sold at sharply higher prices.  Slaughter cows were $6 to $10 higher.  Persistent dry conditions and another surge in the feeder market were the drivers behind the week’s large run.  The USDA says there were several top-notch consignments in the offering, including more than 500 heifers from a reputation backgrounder.  Supply was heavy and demand was very good.  Receipts were up from three weeks ago and on the year.  Feeder supply included 61% heifers and 40% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 550 to 599 pounds brought $275 to $278 for an average prices of $281.91 and feeder steers 613 to 648 pounds brought $268.75 to $277 for an average price of $271.82.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 553 to 599 pounds brought $247 to $263.50 for an average prices of $256.77 and feeder heifers 613 to 640 pounds brought $229 to $252 for an average prices of $244.83. 

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $3.54 higher at $328.73 and Select closed $2.54 higher at $304.10.  The Choice/Select spread is $24.63.    

Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and even on the year. 

Lean hog futures were mostly lower on spread trade and long-term demand uncertainties.  July lean hogs closed $.27 higher at $87.20 and August lean hogs closed $.67 lower at $82.42. 

Cash hogs closed higher with another solid negotiated run.  Packers’ appetite for hogs remains high and processors are bidding up aggressively to move needed numbers.  Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, with another solid export sales report this week from the USDA.  The industry is optimistic domestic demand will see a boost with the summer grilling season in full swing.  Both could be continued good news for prices.  The industry is also watching the availability of market-ready hogs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.01 higher with a base range of $82 to $96 and a weighted average of $94.12; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.41 higher with a weighted average of $94.35; the Western Corn Belt closed $.84 higher with a weighted average of $94.36.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $10 to $20.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $46 to $56.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.53 at $85.68.  Picnics, hams, ribs, loins, and butts were all higher.  Bellies were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 459,000 head – down 21,000 on the week and down 14,000 on the year. 

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