Market News

Cattle, hog futures higher to start the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were up on cash optimism.  Feeders had additional support from the drop in corn.  June lives closed $1.52 higher at $168.87 and August lives closed $2 higher at $167.17.  August feeders closed $3.85 higher at $237.77 and September feeders closed $3.57 higher at $240.67. 

Direct cash cattle trade activity started the week quietly.  Showlists are mixed – higher in Kansas, somewhat higher in Texas, but lower in Nebraska/Colorado.  Bids and asking prices didn’t surface on Tuesday.  Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until midweek or later. 

In South Dakota last week, feeder steers were uneven, steady to firm, except 700 to 750 pounds and 900 to 950 pounds which were $10 to $15 higher.  Feeder heifers were $3 to $8 higher.  The feeder cattle market continues to move higher.  Demand for grass cattle has been hot as there’s been decent rainfall with more in the forecast to help alleviate drought.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 856 to 890 pounds brought $201 to $227.50 and feeder steers 905 to 948 pounds brought $195 to $218.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 801 to 844 pounds brought $189.50 to $204 and feeder heifers 905 to 959 pounds brought $177 to $199. 

Boxed beef closed higher and sharply higher with solid demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $1.03 higher at $304.94 and Select closed $2.85 higher at $287.77.  The Choice/Select spread is $17.19.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 126,000 head – even on the week and down 1,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher, supported by oversold signals and the sharply higher midday move in pork.  June lean hogs closed $4.75 higher at $80.82 and July lean hogs closed $4.75 higher at $79.52. 

Cash hogs had no comparisons with a light negotiated run.  The sluggishness of last week’s cash hog market has carried over into the start of the holiday-shortened week.  Supplies of market-ready hogs are ample, allowing processors to move needed numbers without having to get aggressive in their procurement efforts.  That’s also been adding some pressure to prices. Domestic demand has been a concern as retail prices have not reflected the decline in market prices.  The industry is monitoring the demand for U.S. pork on the global market. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct had a base range of $74 to $81 and a weighted average of $75.15 and the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $79.80.  Prices at the Iowa/Minnesota and 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 $10 to $20.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $44 to $54.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $1.48 at $83.68.  Bellies were sharply higher.  Ribs were higher.  Hams, picnics, and loins were higher.  Butts closed lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 480,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up 12,000 on the year.  Friday’s estimated kill was revised to 452,000 head. 

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