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Hog futures pressured by declining wholesale values

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day mixed on spread adjustments.  Feeder cattle were weak to lower on the continued decline in wholesale values and follow-through selling.  April live cattle closed $1.75 lower at $99.20 and June live cattle closed $.35 lower at $89.07.  April feeder cattle closed $.55 lower at $120.05 and May feeder cattle closed $.02 lower at $120.90. 

Direct cash cattle trade is off to a quiet start for the week.  Bids and asking prices have yet to surface.  Showlists this week appear to be mixed, higher in Texas, but lower in Kansas and Nebraska and Colorado.  It’s more than likely the bulk of this week’s business will be delayed until at least Wednesday or later.

At midsession, at the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to the light test last week, steer and heifer calves are $3 to $6 lower and yearlings are steady to $6 lower.  The USDA says demand was moderate and supply was moderate to heavy.  Receipts of 7,000 head, were up significantly on the week and up on the year.  Feeder supply included 57 percent steers and 53 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 655 to 699 pounds brought $138 to $153.50 and feeder steers 754 to 784 pounds brought $122 to $138.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 501 to 538 pounds brought $136 to $145.50 and feeder heifers 553 to 595 pounds brought $130 to $145. 

Boxed beef closed lower on light demand and heavy offerings.  Select and Choice rib and chuck cuts were weak to lower, while loin cuts were steady to weak.  Choice round cuts were firm, while Select was lower.  Choice closed $1.87 lower at $250.97 and Select closed $4.24 lower at $238.14.  The Choice/Select spread closed at $12.83. 

Estimated cattle slaughter is 120,000 head – up 4,000 on the week and up 2,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day sharply lower, pressured the be continued drop in wholesale values, weakness in the cash trade during the session, and follow-through selling.  April lean hogs closed $4.50 lower at $53.95 and May lean hogs closed $4.50 lower at $52.12. 

Cash hogs closed sharply lower with large negotiated purchases. Packers continue to ramp up production levels in order to meet the demand needs at the meat counter.  With ample supplies of ready barrows and gilts, that hasn’t been a challenge.  There have also been some proactive moves on the part of the packers in case a plant would need to shutter because of a Covid-19 outbreak.  And even with a few cases detected, that hasn’t been the case.  The industry continues to look ahead to the silver lining that is the global demand picture.  With the global protein supply still short, the US is well-positioned to fill the holes left by the African swine fever outbreak.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.64 lower with a base range of $48 to $60 for a weighted average of $55.03; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.04 lower for a weighted average of $56.81; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.05 lower for a weighted average of $56.77.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $4 lower at $36. 

Pork values closed sharply lower – down $3.08 at $70.71.  Ribs dropped $52.91 today.  Bellies closed nearly $10 lower.  Picnics were also sharply lower.  Hams were steady.  Butts and loins were higher.  Estimated hog slaughter is 491,000 head – down 6,000 on the week, but up 16,000 on the year. 

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