Market News

Live cattle futures pressured by continued drop in wholesale values

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day lower ahead of the release of the latest Cattle on Feed numbers with additional pressure from the ongoing decline in wholesale values.  Feeder cattle were mostly modestly higher with support from the day’s lower move in corn.  June live cattle closed $1.10 lower at $97.70 and August live cattle closed $.90 lower at $97.32.  August feeder cattle closed $.07 lower at $128.80 and September feeder cattle closed $.02 higher at $130.15. 

Direct cash cattle trade ended the week at a standstill.  A light to moderate trade took place earlier in the week.  Deals this week have been at mostly $120 live and there was a wide range of dressed business from $175 to $190. 

In Missouri this past week, compared to last week feeder steers and heifer sold mostly steady to $5 higher.  Feeder supply was heavy and demand was moderate to good with the heaviest demand for lighter-weight cattle.  Like many auctions around the country, barns are starting to see a decent number of cattle, and business is returning closer to normal.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply is 57 percent steers and 42 percent of the offering was over 60 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 500 to 549 pounds brought $142 to $159 and feeder steers 550 to 549 pounds brought $139 to $168.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 549 pounds brought $120 to $155 and feeder heifers 550 to 598 pounds brought $118 to $153.25. 

Haying progress is running behind schedule across Missouri as there’s been very little sunshine and too much precipitation.  Most fields are too wet to even get into.  Hay supplies are moderate, demand is light, and prices are mostly steady.  Supreme quality alfalfa brought $180 to $200 and small squares brought $7 to $9 per bale.  Premium quality alfalfa brought $160 to $180.  Good quality alfalfa brought $120 to $160 and small squares brought $5 to $7 per bale.  Good quality mixed grass hay brought $80 to $120 and small squares brought $6 to $8 per bale.  Fair to good quality mixed grass hay brought $60 to $80 and small squares brought $5 to $7 per bale. 

Boxed beef closed lower again on light demand for moderate to heavy offerings.  Choice closed $5.07 at $396.74 and Select closed $8.35 lower at $374.18.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 102,000 head – up 11,000 on the week, but still down 18,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated slaughter is 56,000 head – up 6,000 on the week and up 10,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day lower on ongoing supply and demand concerns, the disruptions in the supply chain, and the weakness in wholesale values and cash trade.  June lean hogs closed $.57 lower at $58.77 and July lean hogs closed $1.27 lower at $55.90. 

Cash ended the day weak to lower with light to moderate negotiated purchases.  The availability of market-ready hogs is more than ample, which comes at a time when the supply chain remains under pressure.  While processing numbers have been on the rise, it’s a very delicate balance for packers to increase their daily slaughter totals when shackle space and available labor are so limited.  The demand picture still shows some hope as exports of US pork (and beef) are still expected to finish strong in 2020.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.68 lower with a base range of $32 to $42.50 for an average of $38.68; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.45 lower for a weighted average of $39.42; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.47 lower for a weighted average of $39.60.  The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.    

According to this week’s Feeder Pig Report early-weaned pigs and all feeder pigs were steady.  The USDA says demand was light to moderate for moderate to heavy offerings.  Receipts included 35 percent formulated prices.  Total composite formula range was $7.29 to $40.44 for an average of $29.59.  Total composite cash range was $1 to $12 for an average of $7.04.  The Total Composite weighted average for all early-weaned pigs was $15.78 and the average for all feeder pigs was $18.80. 

Midwest cash markets are closed today. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with good demand for heavy offerings at $7 to $20.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $16 to $20.  Boars ranged from $1 to $5. 

Pork values closed lower – down $1.10 at $96.75.  Ribs, butts, hams,, bellies, and picnics were all lower to sharply lower.   Loins closed higher.  Estimated hog slaughter is 380,000 head – up 5,000 on the week, but still down 24,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 170,000 head – down 75,000 on the week, but up 130,000 on the year. 

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