Market News

Cattle, hog futures mostly lower to start the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day mostly lower ahead of widespread direct cash business.  April live cattle closed $.30 lower at $162.02 and June lives closed $.87 lower at $155.52.  April feeders closed $.02 lower at $194.62 and May feeders closed $.80 lower at $199.15. 

It was a typically quiet start to the week for direct cash cattle business.  Showlists are mixed – somewhat higher in Nebraska, but lower in Kansas and in Texas.  Bids and asking prices didn’t surface on Monday.  Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until midweek or later. 

At the Oklahoma National Stockyards, feeder steers were steady to $3 higher, with the most advance on heavier weights.  Feeder heifers were steady to $3 lower.  Heifer calves were steady.  The USDA says quality was plain to average and demand was good.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 53% steers and 44% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 507 to 540 pounds brought $230 to $257 and feeder steers 655 to 694 pounds brought $187 to $209.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 548 pounds brought $180 to $211 and feeder heifers 550 to 598 pounds brought $190 to $209. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $2.33 lower at $281.02 and Select was $1.50 higher at $273.94.  The Choice/Select spread is $7.08.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 125,000 head – even on the week and up 8,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mostly lower, pressured by long-term demand uncertainty.  April lean hogs closed $2.10 lower at $77.77 and May lean hogs closed $1.62 lower at $85.15. 

Cash hogs closed mixed with a fairly light negotiated run.  The market has struggled to really find its footing.  Demand for US pork has remained relatively strong on the global market and domestically, but concerns about a weakening global economy add uncertainty to the market.  Availability of market-ready hogs has packers driving business.  And the pattern recently has been a couple of days with big runs at higher prices sandwiched between smaller runs at lower prices.   Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $1.15 lower with a base range of $71 to $79 and a weighted average of $76.46; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.24 higher with a weighted average of $77.28; the Western Corn Belt closed $.31 higher with a weighted average of $77.07.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hogs prices at the Midwest cash markets are $2 higher than the last reported test at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for light to moderate offerings at $51 to $63.  Barrows and gilts were $2 lower with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $46 to $58.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $8 to $15. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.69 at $81.64.  Hams, loins, and butts were higher.  Ribs, bellies, and picnics were lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 477,000 head – down 7,000 on the week and up 8,000 on the year. 

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