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Cattle, hog futures limit higher on follow-through buying

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day higher on follow-through buying, support from sharply higher wholesale values, and Friday’s mostly positive Cattle on Feed report.  Feeder cattle closed sharply higher on the same factors as the live pit.  Both live and feeder cattle will trade with expanded limits on Tuesday.  April live cattle closed $3 higher at $101.65 and June live cattle closed $3 higher at $92.52.  March feeder cattle closed $4.50 higher at $125.22 and April feeder cattle closed $4.50 higher at $123.32. 

Some direct cash cattle trade activity is underway already with a handful of deals in Nebraska and Iowa at $185 dressed.  Some early asking prices have been noted in the South at $120 live and $186+ dressed in the North.  Showlists this week appear to be higher in Kansas and Texas, but lower in Nebraska/Colorado.  The bulk of this week’s business isn’t expected to develop until later in the week.

At the Oklahoma National Stockyards, compared to last week feeder steers were mostly $15 to $19 higher.  Feeder heifers were not well tested, but, had instances of $12 higher on comparable receipts.  Steer and heifer calves were not well tested, but there were instances of $20 to $25 higher.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good.  While receipts are up on the week, it was another fairly light run as producers remain hesitant to move cattle.  Feeder supply included 65 percent steers and 84 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 758 to 792 pounds brought $126 to $138.75 and feeder steers 801 to 838 pounds brought $116 to $128.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 628 to 636 pounds brought $137 to $144 and feeder heifers 766 to 773 pounds brought $105 to $117. 

Boxed beef closed sharply higher on good demand and heavy offerings.  Choice closed $3.57 higher at $257.32 and Select closed $4.97 higher at $245.14.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 116,000 head – even on the week and down 3,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures ended the day limit higher on support from sharply higher wholesale values and follow-through buying.  Contracts will trade with expanded limits on Tuesday.  April lean hogs closed $3 higher at $64.57 and May lean hogs closed at $63.87, also $3 higher. 

Cash hogs closed higher with strong negotiated numbers.  Packers resumed this week where they left off last week, aggressively moving hogs forward in order to keep up with retail demand and as a preventative measure in case of a plant shutdown due to Covid-19. Ample supplies of ready barrows and gilts makes that an easy task right now.  Domestic demand has remained strong and that’s largely supportive to prices.  And with the news that US pork will have increased access to China, that provides a big boost to global demand expectations for US pork.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.08 higher with a base range of $47 to $60 for a weighted average of $57.41; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.13 higher for a weighted average of $58.10; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.29 higher for a weighted average of $58.05.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $1 to $2 higher at $40. 

Pork values closed sharply higher – up $3.47 at $83.51.  Loins, butts, picnics, ribs, and bellies are all sharply higher.  Hams are weak.  Estimated hog slaughter is 497,000 head, even on the week and up 18,000 on the year. 

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