Cattle futures pressured by weaker cash business
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle ended the day mostly lower on profit-taking, the weaker cash trade, and the continued slide in boxed beef prices. Feeder cattle were lower on the same factors. June live cattle closed $.27 higher at $96.60 and August live cattle closed $1.30 lower at $96.50. August feeder cattle closed $1.57 lower at $132.67 and September feeders closed $1.40 lower at $134.15.
A light to moderate direct cash cattle trade has developed across most of cattle country. Deals in the North have a range of $165 to $172 dressed. The $165 deals generally steady with Tuesday’s very light business, but around $15 lower than last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska, while the $172 business is about $8 lower. Live deals in the South are at $108, about $4 lower than last week’s weighted average basis. Asking prices are firm at $115 live in the South and $180 dressed in the North.
At the McAlester Union Livestock Auction in Oklahoma, compared to last week steer calves were $1 to $4 lower. Heifer calves were uneven, mostly steady to $4 higher. The USDA says demand was good and quality was mostly attractive. Receipts were up on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 44 percent steers and 18 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 505 to 546 pounds brought $132 to $145 and feeder steers 600 to 648 pounds brought $125 to $139. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 549 pounds brought $123 to $137 and feeder heifers 550 to 599 pounds brought $122 to $137.
Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand for heavy offerings. Choice closed $10.93 lower at $236.06 and Select closed $5.11 lower at $222.84. The Choice/Select spread is $13.22. Estimated cattle slaughter is 116,000 head – up 2,000 on the week, but still 7,000 head below year-ago levels.
Lean hog futures ended the day lower pressured by the lower cash trade and weaker wholesale values at midday. June lean hogs closed $.22 lower at $47.85 and July lean hogs closed $.17 lower at $52.80.
Cash hogs closed weak with moderate negotiated numbers. Supplies of market-ready barrows and gilts remain more than ample and slaughter numbers continue to pick up. This helps to keep the supply chain moving and ensure there’s enough product coming online. However, the industry is still working to move through the back-log of hogs in the supply chain. The market is optimistic demand for US pork will continue to push higher both domestically and globally, helping to provide at least some price support. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.60 lower with a base range of $27 to $31.50 for a weighted average of $30.16; the Iowa/Minnesota and the Western Corn Belt both closed $.65 lower for a weighted average of $30.45. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $20. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $7 to $20. Barrow and gilt prices were $2 lower with light demand for heavy offerings at $10 to $18. Boars ranged from $1 to $5.
Pork values closed weak – down $.42 at $68.84. Bellies and loins closed sharply lower. Butts and ribs were lower. Picnics and hams closed sharply higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 450,000 head, up 21,000 on the week, but still 32,000 below year-ago levels. Tuesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 444,000 head.