Market News

Feeder cattle pressured by higher corn

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mixed ahead of the week’s direct cash business.  Feeders were lower on the higher move in corn.  February live cattle closed $.07 lower at $153.55 and April lives were unchanged at $157.62.  January feeder cattle closed $.90 lower at $180.90 and March feeders closed $.90 lower at $183.25.   

A very light, scattered direct cash trade developed in the North late in the day Wednesday.  Dressed deals were at $246 to $247, about $2 below last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  The South remained quiet.  Asking prices in the South were at $156 to $157 live and $250 plus dressed in the North.  Expect the bulk of the week’s business to take place Thursday or Friday.  Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange was a non-starter with an offering of 1,023 head of which none sold.  None of the bids met the reserve prices of $155 to $156. 

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, compared to last week steers and heifers were steady to $6 higher.  The USDA says there was a heavy supply of cattle offered.  Demand was good and the trade was active.  The quality was attractive and there were several loads and a few multi-load lots of yearlings on offer.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 50% steers and 56% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 503 to 548 pounds brought $190.50 to $209 and feeder steers 762 to 783 pounds brought $180.75 to $185. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 450 to 497 pounds brought $170 to $910 and feeder heifers 652 to 695 pounds brought $169.75 to $182. 

Boxed beef closed sharply higher on strong demand for solid offerings.  Choice closed $6.31 higher at $248.96 and Select closed $.61 higher at $219.77.  The Choice/Select spread is $29.19. Estimated cattle slaughter was 127,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up 7,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day mixed ahead of the week’s export sales numbers. February lean hogs closed $.27 lower at $86.65 and April lean hogs closed $.02 higher at $92.82. 

Cash hogs closed solidly higher with a huge negotiated run.  Packers were aggressive in their procurement efforts and bid up to move their desired numbers. This remains part of the recent pattern with a day or two of huge runs at sharply higher prices sandwiched between a couple of light days at lower prices.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs and demand, which has been relatively strong.  However, there are concerns a slowing global economy could potentially impact demand and put pressure on prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.56 higher with a base range of $76.50 to $87.50 with a weighted average of $84.68; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $2.74 higher with a weighted average of $85.90; the Western Corn Belt closed $2.63 higher with a weighted average of $85.79; the Eastern Corn Belt closed $1.40 higher with a weighted average of $82.80.   

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. 

Pork values closed sharply lower– down $5.45 at $84.45.  Bellies dropped more than $20.  Picnics were also sharply lower.  Butts, loins, and hams were lower.  Ribs were higher. Estimated hog slaughter was 492,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up 15,000 on the year. 

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