Broader markets pressure cattle, hog futures
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day sharply lower, pressured by the broader markets as concerns about the impact of the coronavirus increase. Feeder cattle were sharply lower on the same factors. April live cattle closed $2.90 lower at $102.85 and June live cattle closed $2.92 lower at $97.10. March feeder cattle closed $4.50 lower at $126.20 and April feeder cattle closed $4.50 lower at $125.55.
Direct cash cattle trade activity is typically quiet to start the week. Showlists this week are mixed, lower in the South, but somewhat higher in Nebraska/Colorado. There have been a few early asking prices noted at $112 to $113 live and $180 dressed. Significant trade volume will likely develop over the balance of the week.
At the Oklahoma National Stockyards, compared to last week feeder steers are trading $9 to $11 lower. Feeder heifers are $6 to $10 lower. Steer calves are lightly tested with a sharply lower undertone noted. Heifer calves are $3 to $5 lower. The USDA says demand was light and quality was plain to average. Receipts are up on the week and down on the year. Feeder supply included 60 percent steers and 62 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 667 to 690 pounds brought $134.50 to $138 and feeder steers 850 to 864 pounds brought $114.50 to $123. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 515 to 536 pounds brought $136 to $150 and feeder heifers 563 to 595 pounds brought $130 to $143.
Boxed beef closed generally steady with light demand and offerings. Choice closed $.11 lower at $207.36 and Select closed $.25 lower at $202.32. The Choice/Select spread closed at $5.04. Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and 2,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day sharply lower on broader market pressure and both short and long-term demand concerns from the coronavirus outbreak. April lean hogs closed $2.92 lower at $63 and May lean hogs closed $2.67 lower at $68.70.
Cash hogs closed firm with fairly strong negotiated purchase numbers. Buyers have been able to keep their bids in check, while still moving their desired numbers. The availability of market-ready hogs is more than ample, and supplies are growing. The global demand picture is uncertain, and it is adding volatility to prices. But, at the same time optimism about increasing demand for US pork on the global market and solid domestic demand are helping to keep prices supported. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.34 higher with a base range of $46 to $53 for a weighted average of $51.30; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.30 higher for a weighted average of $51.67; the Western Corn Belt closed $.32 higher for a weighted average of $51.54. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $36 and $40. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices are steady with good demand for heavy offerings at $19 to $28. Barrow and gilt prices were firm with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $30 to $35. Boars ranged from $10 to $20.
Pork values closed higher – up $1.09 at $67.95. Ribs, bellies, and butts are higher to sharply higher. Hams and loins are firm. Picnics closed steady. Estimated hog slaughter is 497,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and up 23,000 on the year.