Market News

Hog futures higher on demand optimism

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day weak to lower on limited trade volume following the Thanksgiving day holiday.  Feeder cattle were also lower, pressured by the day’s higher move in corn.  December live cattle closed $.22 lower at $121.20 and February live cattle closed $.50 lower at $126.20.  January feeder cattle closed $1.05 lower at $142.27 and March feeder cattle closed $.90 lower at $143.02.  

Direct cash cattle trade finished the week quietly.  Most of the week’s business was completed ahead of the holiday break.  Some late bids did come in on Wednesday for live cattle in Iowa at $118, Texas and Kansas $119, and in Nebraska at $120.  At least some business expected to develop through the balance of the day today.  

In Missouri for the week, compared to last week, feeders were uneven.  Many auctions were closed this week in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  There was a heavy supply of load lots of yearlings, which sold mostly steady to $2 higher.  Other cattle, had a harder time finding better money this week and sold steady to $5 lower on a limited test.  Receipts of 27,081 were down on both the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 64 percent stress and 74 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 750 to 797 pounds brought $124 to $156 and feeder steers 802 to 849 pounds brought $139.50 to $150.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 653 to 699 pounds brought $118.50 to $149.50 and feeder heifers 705 to 749 pounds brought $110 to $145.25.  

At the Iowa Hay Market, compared to two weeks ago, prices on alfalfa trended mostly steady.  Alfalfa/Grass and grass were mostly steady.  Alfalfa Supreme small squares brought $280 to $340, large squares brought $250 to $330.  Premium small squares brought $210 to $330, large squares brought $210 to $260.  Large rounds brought $200.  Good small squares brought $200.  Alfalfa/Grass, Premium small squares brought $200 to $225, large squares brought $220 to $275, large rounds brought $170 to $210.  Good small squares brought $170 to $200 and large squares brought $160 to $185.  Grass, Premium small squares brought $240, large squares brought $200 to $240.  Good small squares brought $180, large squares brought $130 to $220, large rounds brought $120 to $170.  

Boxed beef ended the day steady to weak on light to moderate demand and offerings.  Choice closed $.12 lower at $232.12 and Select closed $.30 lower at $210.34.  

Estimated cattle slaughter is 115,100 head – up 1,000 on the week and down 7,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 98,000 head – up 17,000 on the week and up 56,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher on support from higher wholesale values and optimism that demand for US pork will continue to push higher as much of Asia continues to struggle with supply concerns in the wake of African Swine Fever.  December lean hogs closed $1.35 higher at $62.02 and February lean hogs closed $1.02 higher at $68.17.  

Cash hogs closed steady to weak with large negotiated purchase totals.  The market continues to be stuck in this same nearly steady pattern.  The potential for demand increases helps to keep prices supported, while the heavy supplies add pressure to the market.  The industry continues to look to China for demand increases.  That has the potential to push prices significantly higher, but until that becomes a reality, the market is likely to be stuck in this current pattern.Barrows and gilts at the Iowa/Southern Minnesota closed $.22 lower for a weighted average of $42.55; the Western Corn Belt closed $.19 lower for an average of $42.52; the Eastern Corn Belt had no comparison but a weighted average of 42.75; and the National Daily Direct closed $.35 lower with a base range of $40 to $43.65 for an average of $42.54.  

Compared to last week, early weaned pigs were $1 per head higher and all feeder pigs were $2 per head higher on light receipts.  The USDA says demand was moderate for a moderate offering.  Receipts included 44 percent formulated prices.  Total composite formula range is $34.79 to $54.06 for an average of $45.21.  Total composite cash range is $19 to $43 for a  weighted average of $33.86.  The average for all early weaned pigs is $39.09 and the average for all feeder pigs is $48.61.  

Pork values closed sharply higher – up $1.87 at $81.85.  Picnics, butts, belly, and loins all closed sharply higher.  Ribs were sharply lower.  Hams were lower.  

Estimated hog slaughter is 486,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and up 13,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 390,000 on – up 84,000 on the week and up 199,000 on the year.   

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