Market News

Midday cash livestock markets

Direct cash cattle markets are quiet. Business appears to the essentially over for the week after Thursday’s activity as buyers and sellers tried to get wrapped up ahead of a winter storm in the Plains and a long holiday weekend. Trade was light to moderate at mainly $124 on the live basis, steady with the previous week, and mostly $199 dressed, down $1 from the prior week’s weighted average. Asking prices for what’s left are $126 live and $203 dressed, with a few bids at $198 and $199 dressed in Iowa and Nebraska. Near-term, cattle numbers are tight in some areas and beef demand continues to be solid. The USDA’s Cattle on Feed numbers are out on the 24th and the semi-annual Cattle Inventory report is due on the 31st.

Boxed beef at midday was sharply higher with moderate movement. Choice was up $1.09 at $213.99 and Selected gained $1.98 to $213.45.

At the Mitchell Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in South Dakota, compared to the previous test, steers were $2 to $5 higher, while 500 to 700-pound heifers were $1 to $4 higher and heifers weighing 700 pounds and heavier were steady to $2 higher. The USDA says demand was good for light fleshed calves, weaned with fall shots, and there were many load lots on offer. Bitter cold did keep some cattle away, with receipts of 4,110 head. 59% of the offering were steers and 72% of the run weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds ranged from $150 to $170 and 800 to 900-pound steers brought $138.50 to $149. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds were reported at $147 to $155.50 and 800 to 900-pound heifers sold at $131.25 to $141.

Cash hogs are firm, with moderate opening negotiated numbers at the major direct markets. Buyers are watching the weather in the Midwest, while trying to use the available market ready numbers for leverage as the industry waits for more clarity on purchases by China. Next week’s export sales report is pushed back to Friday by Monday’s holiday. The USDA’s monthly Cold Storage and Livestock Slaughter numbers are out next Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Saturday’s slaughter is projected at around 155,000 head, but activity in some areas could be limited by the weather.

Pork at midday was down $2.82 at $72.63. Loins, butts, ribs, hams, and bellies were weak to sharply lower, including a $10.16 drop in the belly primal. Picnics were modestly higher.

National direct barrows and gilts opened $.15 higher at $48 to $51.68 with a weighted average of $51.37. The major regional direct markets were not reported due to confidentiality.

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