Live cattle futures lower ahead of direct cash business
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle closed lower waiting for direct business to develop and feeder cattle closed mostly higher, supported by the lower move in corn. April live cattle closed $1.50 lower at $139.35 and June lives closed $1.27 lower at $135.52. April feeder cattle closed $.02 higher at $162.62 and May feeder cattle closed $.02 lower at $167.27.
Direct cash cattle trade has been relatively quietly through midweek. A little scattered trade was reported across several areas with live deals at $138 and dressed trade at $222. And while business is underway, it isn’t enough to establish a trend. Significant trade volume will likely develop in the back half of the week.
At the Interstate Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to last week feeder steers under 600 pounds were $6 to $12 higher, and steers over 600 pounds were $3 to $6 higher. Feeder heifers were $4 to $8 higher. The USDA says demand was good to very good and supply was light. The feeder market has been stronger this week. Receipts were about steady on the week and down on the year. Feeder supply included 40% steers and 19% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 504 to 512 pounds brought $175 to $190 and feeder steers 660 to 690 pounds brought $156 to $168. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 402 to 499 pounds brought $178 to $186 and feeder heifers 452 to 499 pounds brought $172.50 to $187.
Boxed beef closed firm to higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $.18 higher at $258.08 and Select closed $1.43 higher at $250.27. The Choice/Select spread is $7.81. Estimated cattle slaughter is 125,000 head – even on the week and up 10,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed mixed, adjusting spreads. The market is supported by concerns of tight hog supplies in the near term, but there are long-term demand concerns adding pressure to the markets. April lean hogs closed $.02 lower at $102.37 and May lean hogs closed $.35 higher at $111.
Cash hogs ended the day higher with a solid negotiated run. Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong. That is expected to continue in the near term, but long-term demand concerns do add some pressure to prices. Processors have been more aggressive in their procurement efforts recently and have been working hard to move their desired numbers. And the industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs. Hog weights at the Iowa/Minnesota are at 288.1 pounds, down 0.6 pounds on the week and up 1.3 pounds on the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.86 higher with a base range of $98 to $114 and a weighted average of $107.73; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.63 higher with a weighted average of $112.97; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.04 higher with a weighted average of $112.93. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $70. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $74 to $84. Barrows and gilts were $3 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $66 to $73. Boars ranged from $40 to $45 and $20 to $25.
Pork values closed higher – up $1.29 at $104.48. Hams and ribs were both sharply higher. Butts were higher. Picnics, loins, and bellies were all lower to sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 480,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and down 16,000 on the year.