Market News

Strong pork values prop up hog futures

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower ahead of widespread direct business.  February live cattle closed $.10 lower at $115.62 and April live cattle closed $1.85 lower at $121.20.  March feeder cattle closed $.75 lower at $138.57 and April live cattle closed $.67 higher at $142.60. 

Another relatively quiet day for direct cash cattle trade activity.  There were a handful of dressed deals reported in parts of the North at $181, but that’s not near enough to establish a trend.  The CBP Cash Pool in Texas has deals marked just over $114.  Some asking prices surfaced around $116 live in the South while the North is quiet.  Bids were non-existent.  It’s likely significant trade volume will be delayed until the latter half of the week.

At the Tri-State Livestock Auction in Nebraska, the USDA says demand was good on all offerings.  Receipts were up from the most recent sale and on the year.  Feeder supply included 58 percent steers and 84 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 809 to 846 pounds brought $130.75 to $135 and feeder steers 961 to 968 pounds brought $124 to $128.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 655 to 696 pounds brought $132 to $137.75 and feeder heifers 714 to 749 pounds brought $125 to $134.

Boxed beef closed higher on moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $.31 higher at $240.29 and Select closed $.55 higher at $230.53.  The Choice/Select spread is $9.76.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 – that’s up 31,000 on the week and down 1,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher, supported by the higher pork values and the recent strength in cash business.  April lean hogs closed $1.30 higher at $86.42 and May lean hogs closed $1.00 higher at $88.85. 

Cash hogs closed sharply higher with a solid negotiated run.  Packers bid up to move their desired numbers on Tuesday.  The market has been optimistic about the demand strength for US pork from the global market and domestically and that’s been supportive to prices.  However, the concern about heavy supplies remains at the forefront of the industry’s minds.  The availability of market-ready barrows and gilts is more than ample and daily slaughter totals continue at high levels.  The combination adds more pork to the market. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.65 higher with a base range of $64 to $77 and a weighted average of $73.17.  The Iowa/Minnesota closed $3.44 higher with a weighted average of $75.72 and the Western Corn Belt closed $3.03 higher with a weighted average of $75.70.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $2 lower at $48.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were firm with very good demand for heavy offerings at $53 to $66.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $45 to $54.  Boars ranged from $25 to $30. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.64 at $92.75.  Hams, ribs, and butts were all sharply higher.  Loins were about steady.  Bellies were lower and picnics were sharply lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 497,000 head – up 86,000 on the week and up 4,000 on the year.  Monday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 489,000 head. 

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