Cattle futures mixed to end the week
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day mixed, adjusting spreads. August live cattle closed $.40 lower at $171.85 and October lives closed $.10 higher at $174.80. August feeder cattle closed $.35 higher at $239 and September feeders closed $.22 higher at $241.70.
There was another light round of direct cash cattle trade that took place on Friday. Live deals in Kansas were marked at $186. Business got underway on Tuesday, 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. Southern live deals were at $184 to $191, mostly $185, about $7 to $8 higher than the prior week’s business.
At the Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota feeder steers and heifers were $10 to $20 higher. The USDA says demand was excellent and the red-hot fed cattle market is also helping push feeder cattle to record high prices. There were many long strings of yearling steers and heifers offered in load lots and multiple load lots. Flesh condition ranged from light grass-type cattle to heavier fleshed cattle coming out of grow yards. Quality was very attractive, demand was good, and the market was active. Receipts were up on the week and down on the year. Feeder supply included 49% steers and 97% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 864 to 893 pounds brought $216 to $223 for an average price of $219.18 and feeder steers 952 to 992 pounds brought $200 to $212.74 for an average price of $211.16. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 750 to 799 pounds brought $203 to $227.75 for an average price of $220.15. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 800 to 843 pounds brought $200.50 to $218 for an average price of $208.11.
In South Dakota this past week, the USDA says alfalfa hay was steady. Demand has been good for new crop hay, yet there is some resistance to price from dairy operators as lower milk prices are putting pressure on dairy margins. The first cutting of alfalfa is complete and for the most part, the quality was good. Drought conditions have expanded in parts of the state. Alfalfa, supreme, large squares brought $300. Alfalfa, supreme, large rounds brought $280. Alfalfa, premium, large squares brought $250. Alfalfa, fair, large rounds brought $210. Alfalfa, pellets, 17% sun-cured brought $315. Grass, good/premium, large rounds brought $175.
Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for moderate offerings. Choice was $4.20 higher at $332.93 and Select closed $1.61 higher at $305.71. The Choice/Select spread is $27.22. Estimated cattle slaughter was 120,000 head – down 4,000 on the week and the year. Saturday’s estimated kill is 6,000 head – down 59,000 on the week and down 42,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day mostly higher on oversold signals and the higher midday move in pork. July lean hogs closed $2.42 higher at $89.62 and August lean hogs closed $1.52 higher at $83.95.
Cash hogs closed sharply lower with a very light negotiated run. Friday’s drop in prices came as no surprise. Packers were aggressive for much of the week, bidding up to move needed numbers. Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, and the industry is optimistic domestic demand will see a boost as the summer grilling season is in full swing. All eyes are also on the availability of market-ready hogs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $8.60 lower with a base range of $81.50 to $90 and a weighted average of $85.52; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $5.41 lower with a weighted average of $88.94; the Western Corn Belt closed $5.42 lower with a weighted average of $88.94; the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of $84.70.
According to the USDA’s weekly Feeder Pig report, early-weaned pigs were steady and all feeder pigs were $1 per head lower. Demand was steady to weak for moderate offerings. The Total Composite cash range was $4 to $17 for a weighted average of $10.28 and the Total Composite formula range was $12.03 to $50.16 for a weighted average of $32.91. The weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $18.32 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $40.18.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sows were $2 higher with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $12 to $22. Borrows 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 $2.71 at $88.39. All of the primals were higher with bellies sharply higher.
Estimated hog slaughter was 458,000 head – down 8,000 on the week and up 11,000 on the year. Saturday’s estimated kill is 48,000 head – down 71,000 on the week and up 48,000 on the year.