Market News

Cattle, hog futures continue to push higher

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle futures ended the day limit higher on follow-through buying, support from the recent strength in the wholesale values, expectations of stronger cash trade this week, and broader markets.  Feeder cattle closed mostly limit higher on the same factors.  Both live and feeder cattle contracts will trade with expanded limits again on Wednesday.  April live cattle closed $4.50 higher at $105.16 and June live cattle closed $4.50 higher at $97.02.  March feeder cattle closed $5 higher at $130.22 and April feeders closed $6.75 higher at $130.07. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity remains relatively quiet.  There’s just a handful of cattle that have sold in Iowa at $188 dressed, well above last week’s weighted averages.  Asking prices for cattle are at $125 live in the South and $195 dressed in the North.  Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange has an offering of 5,886 head and could be what’s needed to kick-start this week’s business. 

At the Sioux Falls Regional Cattle Auction in South Dakota, another very limited offering of feeder cattle with 800 to 950-pound steers $1 higher compared to two weeks ago.  The only comparison for feeder heifers was a load of 760-pound heifers that sold $15 higher than last week.  The USDA says demand was good for the light offering, and while there was a lighter buyer attendance, the market was active.  Receipts were down slightly on the week and down significantly on the year.  Feeder supply included 76 percent steers and 94 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 829 pounds brought $131.50 and feeder steers 928 to 947 pounds brought $115 to $126.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 763 brought $124. 

Boxed beef ended the day mixed on light to moderate demand and moderate offerings.  Choice rib and chuck cuts were steady to firm while loin and round cuts were lower.  Select rib and loin cutes were steady to firm, while chuck and round cuts were steady to weak.  Choice closed $1.01 lower at $256.31 and Select closed $.34 higher at $245.48.  The Choice/Select spread closed at $10.83.    

Estimated cattle slaughter is 123,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and up 4,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day sharply higher on follow-through buying, support from the cash trade, higher wholesale values during the session, and the broader markets.  April lean hogs closed $1.85 higher at $66.42 and May lean hogs closed $3 higher at $65.87. 

Cash hogs ended the day higher with strong negotiated numbers.  Supplies of ready barrows and gilts are ample, but, at the same time, packers continue to aggressively move hogs forward in order to meet consumer demand for pork.  There’s also a silver lining as it relates to the global demand picture as the US looks to fill the holes left in the global protein supply due to the African swine fever outbreak. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.56 higher with a base range of $54 to $61.25 for a weighted average of $59.06; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.52 higher for a weighted average of $59.76; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.56 higher for a weighted average of $59.72.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $40. 

Pork values closed lower – down $1.46 at $82.05.  Bellies dropped $10.90 today with additional losses in picnics, hams, and loins.  Butts and ribs closed sharply higher.  Estimated hog slaughter is 498,000 head – even on the week and up 28,000 on the year. 

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