Cattle futures supported by cash optimism
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher with optimism about this week’s cash business, feeders had additional support from the lower move in corn. June live cattle closed $0.25 higher at $163.95 and August live cattle closed $.35 higher at $163.25. May feeder cattle closed $2.20 higher at $207.82 and April feeder cattle closed $1.35 higher at $224.35.
It was a slow Tuesday for direct cash cattle business. Bids remained elusive. Early asking prices were floated around $174 to $175 live in the South, while the North was quiet. Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the latter half of the week.
At the Callaway Livestock Center in Missouri, steer calves 400 to 600 pounds were $5 to $10 higher. A light offering of 6-weight steers were fully steady to firm and a part load of 883-pound steers were steady. Feeder heifers 400 to 450 pounds were $5 to $10 higher with spots of $15 higher, 450-to-500-pound heifers were steady to firm, and 5 weights were steady on a light test. The offering was light, but the quality was above average, the market was active, and demand was good. Receipts were down on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 45% steers and 20% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 450 to 499 pounds brought $254.50 to $277 and feeder steers 501 to 538 pounds brought $247 to $263.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 401 to 445 pounds brought $238 to $257 and feeder heifers 480 to 493 pounds brought $230 to $238.50.
Boxed beef closed sharply higher on solid demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $2.19 higher at $295.10 and Select was $3.64 higher at $282.04. The Choice/Select spread is $13.06. Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – even on the week and the year.
Lean hog futures were lower, pressured by the lower cash business and long-term demand uncertainties. May lean hogs closed $.47 lower at $82.37 and June hogs closed at $1.30 lower at $87.50.
Cash hogs closed lower with a solid negotiated run. Packers were short-bought to start the week. While it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them more aggressive in their procurement efforts and bid up to move needed numbers, that’s not happened yet. Plentiful supplies of market-ready hogs do give packers more leverage. Demand overall has been relatively strong and helps provide at least some price support, however, ongoing concerns about the global economy have attracted the industry’s attention. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.33 lower with a base range of $63 to $73 with a weighted average of $70.59; the Iowa/Minnesota had no comparison but a weighted average of $71.94; the Western Corn Belt also had no comparison but a weighted average of $71.92; the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of $69.98.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $50.
Pork values closed firm – up $.40 higher at $77.46. Bellies were sharply higher. Hams, bellies, and butts were higher. Loins and picnics were lower and sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 485,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and up 17,000 on the year.