Market News

Cattle futures supported by lower corn

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were higher with feeders leading the way on the lower move in corn.  December live cattle closed $1.50 higher at $153.07 and February lives closed $.87 higher at $155.02.  January feeders closed $2.05 higher at $181.70 and March feeders closed $2 higher at $183.80. 

There was a light direct cash cattle trade that took place in the North on Thursday.  Live deals were at $153 and dressed deals at $242.50, generally steady with the week’s previous business.  Asking prices for cattle left on showlists are around $151-plus live in the South and $243-plus dressed in the North. So far this week Southern live deals have been marked at $150, fully steady with last week’s weighted averages.  Northern dressed business has been at mostly $242, also fully steady with last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska. 

At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to last week yearling steers and heifers were not well compared.  The best test was on steer calves 500 to 600 pounds which were $5 to $7 lower, steers 601 to 650 pounds were $1 lower.  The best test on heifers was calves 450 to 500 pounds which were $2 to 43 lower, heifers 501 to 600 pounds were $5 to $10 lower with spots of up to $15 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good for yearlings.  The light yearling offering consisted of most cattle coming out of yards with more flesh.  Quality varied from plain to attractive.  Demand for calves was moderate to good and there were quite a few loads and many packages of calves offered.  Flesh varied, from light to moderate plus with some carrying heavy flesh.  Most calves were fully preconditioned, and a few weaned packages were offered.  The market was moderate as it was under pressure from impending weather.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 59% steers and 59% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 552 to 596 pounds brought $191 to $208 and feeder steers 606 to 647 pounds brought $191.50 to $200.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 558 to 583 pounds brought $172 to $179 and feeder heifers 609 to 641 pounds brought $168.75 to $176.50. 

Boxed beef closed mixed with light to moderate demand for light offerings. Choice closed $1.40 lower at $263.27 and Select closed $1.61 higher at $236.83.  The Choice/Select spread was $26.44. Estimated cattle slaughter was 129,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 13,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures were pressured by the weak cash trade.  December lean hogs closed $.40 lower at $84.87 and February lean hogs closed $.32 lower at $88.82. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a light negotiated run.  The market seems to be stuck in a pattern of a couple of days of higher prices with fairly large runs surrounded by light business and lower prices.  Processors weren’t aggressive in their procurement efforts and prices reflected that.  Demand, overall, has been relatively strong, but there are concerns it could weaken with a slowing economy.  Which could result in lower prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.47 lower with a base range of $79.50 to $92 with a weighted average of $85.23; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.06 lower with a weighted average of $88.66; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.56 lower with a weighted average of $87.16.  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 $59 to $71.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $58 to $68.  Boars ranged from $30 to $35 and $9 to $19. 

Pork values closed higher – up $2.42 at $96.54.  Hams were sharply higher.  Butts, loins, and bellies were higher.  Picnics and ribs were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 490,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 43,000 on the year. 

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