Hog futures higher on demand expectations
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day mostly lower, and feeders were lower on follow-through selling and the weaker cash trade. April live cattle closed $.57 higher at $118.95 and June live cattle closed $.40 lower at $115.45. April feeder cattle closed $.32 lower at $133.87 and May feeder cattle closed $.90 lower at $134.97.
There was a light direct cash cattle trade that took place on Wednesday. Live deals in the South were at $118 to $119. Dressed deals in Nebraska were at $191, most of which were marked for delayed delivery. There were just a handful of deals reported in the North on Tuesday at $190, $2 lower than the bulk of last week’s business. Look for more business to develop over the balance of the week.
At the Interstate Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to the previous week, feeder steers were steady to $6 lower with the best demand near 550 pounds. Feeder heifers were $1 to $4 lower. The USDA says both supply and demand were moderate. The quality improved this week and there were several nice consignments of calves along with a few packages of yearlings. Receipts were up on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 44 percent steers and 35 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 534 to 545 pounds brought $160.50 to $170.50 and feeder steers 702 to 738 pounds brought $131.50 to $139. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 503 to 547 pounds brought $133 to $139 and feeder heifers 550 to 580 pounds brought $131.50 to $138.50.
Boxed beef closed mixed with moderate to good demand for moderate offerings. Choice is $1.51 higher at $292.50 and Select is $.53 lower at $279. The Choice/Select spread is $13.50. Estimated cattle slaughter is 120,000 head – even on the week and up 45,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day higher on oversold signals and long-term demand expectations. May lean hogs closed $1.47 higher at $111.27 and June lean hogs closed $2.45 higher at $109.12.
Cash hogs ended the day mixed with a solid negotiated run. Packers may have taken a breather on Wednesday, but have been very aggressive in their procurement efforts recently. They’re also keeping a close eye on the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts. Strong demand for US pork on both the global market and domestically combined with narrowing supplies are pushing prices higher. That price strength is expected to continue as long as demand holds. Daily slaughter runs have been significantly higher than last year’s numbers, which had dropped drastically from disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have been slightly below recent trends. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.58 lower with a base range of $105 to $120 and a weighted average of $111.52; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.47 higher with a weighted average of $115.78; the Western Corn Belt was $.98 higher with a weighted average of $116.15. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $64. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 lower with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $54 to $64. Barrow and gilt prices were $1 higher with good demand for heavy offerings at $68 to $79. Boars ranged from $40 to $45 and $15 to $20.
Pork values closed $2.47 lower at $108.21. Bellies are sharply lower. Hams and loins are lower. Butts were about steady. Picnics and ribs were higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 483,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up 216,000 on the year.