Market News

Cattle futures up waiting for cash business to develop

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were up, optimistic about this week’s cash business.  April live cattle closed $1.77 higher at $186.57 and June live cattle closed $1.52 higher at $183.72.  March feeder cattle closed $1.30 higher at $246.85 and April feeders closed $.72 higher at $251.92. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity was relatively quiet Thursday. Asking prices were around $182-plus live in the South and $290 dressed in the North. It looks like buyers and sellers remain in a standoff and significant trade volume could hold out until Friday. 

At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, steers over 600 pounds were steady to $7 higher.  Heifers 550 to 700 pounds were steady to $5 lower and heifers over 700 pounds were uneven – from $3 higher to $3 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good from both the buyers in the crowd and online.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 49% steers and 78% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 718 to 749 pounds brought $256 to $266 and feeder steers 760 to 793 pounds brought $247 to $258.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 650 to 696 pounds brought $236.50 to $248.50 and feeder heifers 750 to 772 pounds brought $219.50 to $225.75. 

Boxed beef closed mixed with light demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $.03 higher at $295.01 and Select closed $1.30 lower at $284.12.  The Choice/Select spread is $10.89. Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up more than 1,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures closed lower on contracts’ premium to cash and long-term demand uncertainty.  April lean hogs closed $.75 lower at $80.35 and May lean hogs closed $.52 lower at $85.82. 

Cash hogs closed lower with a very light negotiated run. The ample supplies of market-ready hogs give packers more leverage.  Processors are able to move needed numbers without having to get aggressive in their procurement efforts.  Heavier hog weights and sluggish domestic demand also put pressure on prices.  But there is some optimism as demand for U.S. pork on the global market will remain strong. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.31 lower with a base range of $60 to $68.50 and a weighted average of $65.06; the Iowa/Minnesota had no comparison but a weighted average of $64.39; the Western Corn Belt had closed $1.96 lower with a weighted average of $65.06.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hog prices on the Midwest cash markets are steady in Dorchester, WI or Garnavillo, Iowa at $48.  In Red Oak, Iowa prices are higher at $41.At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher again with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $33 to $45.  Barrows and gilts were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $34 to $44.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed higher – up $2.37 at $86.26. Hams were sharply higher. Loins, butts, and picnics were also higher.  Ribs and bellies were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 491,000 head – up 9,000 on the week and up more than 8,000 on the year.

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