Midday cash livestock markets
Direct cash cattle markets are quiet. Asking prices are at $158 on the live basis in the south, not established yet in the north. Bids remain hard to come by, but packer inquiry should start to improve over the next couple of days. This week’s show list is mixed when compared to last week. The USDA’s Cattle Inventory report was close to expectations, with the inventory down 3%, and the numbers point to at least some further degree of contraction.
Boxed beef at midday was lower with relatively heavy movement. Choice was down $1.33 at $264.76 and Select beef was $.98 lower at $251.94 for a spread of $12.82.
At the Winter Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in Colorado, compared to the previous week, steer calves were mostly steady, while heifer calves weighing less than 550 pounds were mostly $5 to $8 higher, with some instances of up $10 for heifer calves weighing less than 500 pounds. Yearling feeder steers were $2 to $3 higher and yearling feeder heifers were steady to $1 higher. The USDA says trade activity and demand were good with receipts up on the week and the year. The sale was mostly calves weaned at least 45 days in thin flesh. 52% of the feeder offering were steers and 60% of the total feeder run weighed less than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 500 to 600 pounds were reported at $206 to $221.75 and 600 to 700 pound steers sold at $180 to $206. Medium and Large feeder heifers weighing 400 to 500 pounds ranged from $193 to $210 and 500 to 600-pound heifers brought $177 to $193.
Cash hogs are nearly unchanged with light opening numbers for the major direct markets. Buyers appear to be comfortable with current market ready supplies, while continuing to monitor demand in the face of inconsistencies in the wholesale market. Thursday’s USDA weekly export sales report will be watched closely, but a bigger spotlight will fall on next week’s numbers as China gets back to business following the Lunar New Year holiday. The average Iowa/Southern Minnesota/South Dakota direct barrow and gilt weight for the week ending January 28th was 286.8 pounds, down 2.3 from the previous week and 3.5 from last year.
National direct barrows and gilts opened $.10 lower with a base price range of $65 to $74 for a weighted average of $70.43. Tuesday, national direct barrows and gilts closed $.72 higher with a base price range of $65 to $74 for a weighted average of $70.84, with Iowa/Southern Minnesota $.32 lower at $70.92, the Western Corn Belt down $.43 at $70.81, and the Eastern Corn Belt up $1.44 at $71.17. Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60 in Dorchester, Wisconsin and $66 in Garnavillo, Iowa. Illinois direct sows are steady at $30 to $42 on light to moderate demand and offerings. Barrows and gilts are steady at $54 to $64 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars range from $10 to $20.
Pork at midday was down $.29 at $79.96. Hams and bellies were sharply lower, canceling out gains in loins, butts, picnics, and ribs.