Market News

Live cattle mixed waiting for cash business to develop

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mixed and feeders were lower ahead of the week’s direct business.  April live cattle closed $.10 higher at $163.70 and June lives closed $.02 lower at $159.77.  March feeder cattle closed $.75 lower at $186.45 and April feeders closed $.62 lower at $190.72. 

It was another quiet day for direct cash cattle business.  Bids didn’t surface.  Asking prices were at $161 to $162 live in the South, while not established in the North.  Packer inquiry is expected to improve over the balance of the week with significant trade volume expected to take place sometime Thursday or Friday. 

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, steers were firm to $5 higher and the majority of heifers under 650 pounds were $8 to $15 higher as the large groups and loads of reputation cattle in attractive condition helped push prices higher.  Heifers over 650 pounds were steady.  The USDA says demand was very good for a heavy supply.  Receipts were up on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 56% steers and 56% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 601 to 644 pounds brought $196.50 to $215.50 and feeder steers 657 to 699 pounds brought $187 to $200.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 618 to 649 pounds brought $179 to $195 and feeder heifers 700 to 745 pounds brought $169.25 to $180. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on fairly light demand for light offerings.  Choice closed $.48 higher at $267.20 and Select closed $4.17 lower at $253.16.  The Choice/Select spread is $14.04.  Estimated cattle slaughter was 124,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and even on the year. 

Lean hog futures closed higher, supported by sharply higher cash and wholesale business during the session.  April lean hogs closed $.80 higher at $84.07 and May lean hogs closed $1.17 higher at $93.82. 

Cash hogs closed sharply higher with a huge negotiated run. Processors were much more aggressive in their procurement efforts and prices reflected that.  The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs.  Demand for US pork has remained strong on the global market and domestically, which does help provide price support.  However, this is very similar to the trend of recent weeks where there have been a couple of days with larger runs at much higher prices sandwiched between slower days with smaller runs and lower prices.  Hog weights are down 0.9 pounds on the week at 285.9, that’s also 3.2 pounds below year-ago levels. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $3.51 higher with a base range of $67 to $80 and a weighted average of $77.58; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $2.39 higher with a weighted average of $78.46; the Western Corn Belt closed $2.45 higher with a weighted average of $78.41.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $66. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate to heavy demand for moderate offerings at $30 to $42.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $54 to $64.  Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $10 to $13. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.73 at $79.29.  Hams and picnics were sharply higher while the rest of the primals were weak to sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter was 482,000 head – down 8,000 on the week and up 6,000 on the year. 

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