Market News

Live cattle finish mixed, feeders lower

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were mixed, watching the distribution of this week’s show list and getting ready for the week’s direct trade, while feeders were pressured by the higher move in corn. February live was down $.07 at $156.82 and April was unchanged at $161.82. January feeders were $.90 lower at $183.10 and March was down $1.35 at $185.40.

Direct cash cattle markets were at a standstill. This week’s show list looks larger in Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska/Colorado. A few asking prices have been reported at $158 live in the south, with no interest yet in the north. Weather could continue to be a big issue in some of the major feeding areas but has eased or will ease this week in other portions of the region. Last week’s trade was mainly at $155 to $156 for the live basis, steady to $1 higher than the week before that, and at mostly $249 dressed, up $1. Trade volume and formula totals were all down on the week.

Boxed beef closed firm to sharply higher with light to moderate movement. Choice gained $8.09 to $280.04 and Select beef was up $.17 at $245.64. The estimated cattle slaughter of 128,000 head was up 4,000 on the week and 7,000 on the year.

Last week in Iowa, feeder steers and heifers weighing less than 800 pounds were steady in a light test due to lighter receipts, but there was a higher undertone. There was no comparison on feeders weighing more than 800 pounds. The USDA says receipts were down sharply on the week with weather having at least some impact. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 500 to 600 pounds sold at $191 to $213 with 600-to-700-pound steers ranging from $181 to $205. Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds were reported at $169 to $193 and 600-to-700-pound steers brought $155 to $179.

Lean hog futures were supported by the strong pork close Friday and sharply higher midday move Tuesday, along with last week’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. February was $3.65 higher at $91.47 and April was up $1.07 at $96.45.

Cash hogs had no reported trend with a lower undertone noted for the major direct markets and good negotiated sales. Most buyers are expected to issue higher bids at some point after slow trade last week, but business this week could still be somewhat muted ahead of the New Year. Weather issues impacting movement in the Midwest have cleared up in most of the region or will be cleared soon.

National direct barrows and gilts had no available comparison with a base price range of $70 to $80 and a weighted average of $77.80, while Iowa/Southern Minnesota averaged $75.85 and the Western Corn Belt had an average of $75.93. Midwest butcher hog markets are closed this week. Illinois direct sows were steady at $39 to $51 with light demand for light offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $56 to $66 on moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $10 to $20.

Pork closed $1.14 lower at $90.92. Hams were weak with picnics and bellies down sharply. Loins, butts, and ribs were higher. The estimated hog slaughter of 490,000 head was up 1,000 on the week and 14,000 on the year.

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