Hog futures mostly higher ahead of export sales report
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle closed mostly higher on spread trade and short covering, despite another lower day of cash trade and sharply lower boxed beef prices. December live cattle closed $.47 lower at $107.37 and February live cattle closed $.20 higher at $110.97. January feeder cattle closed $.55 lower at $137.02 and March feeder cattle closed $.30 higher at $138.80.
Another light round of direct cash cattle trade was reported on Wednesday. A few live deals were noted in parts of Western Nebraska at $107, that’s $3 lower than last week’s weighted average basis. The rest of cattle country has been quiet. Packer inquiry is still expected to improve. Asking prices were around $109 to $110 live in the South on Wednesday, but the North remained quiet. Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange Auction was delayed due to technical issues. There was a light to moderate business that was reported in the South at $108 on Tuesday, which was about $2 lower than the bulk of last week’s trade.
At the Interstate Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to to last week feeder steers and heifers were $2 to $5 higher and over 550 pounds were steady to $2 higher except several fleshy/unweaned calves which were $2 to $4 lower. The USDA says demand was moderate to good and supply was heavy. Demand for higher quality cattle has been strong. Receipts were down on the week and up on the year. Feeder supply included 55 percent steers and 57 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 647 pounds brought $140.50 to $152.80 and feeder steers 650 to 687 pounds brought $136.50 to $150.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 542 pounds brought $123 to $140.50 and feeder heifers 550 to 590 pounds brought $120 to $135.50.
Boxed beef closed sharply lower light demand for heavy offerings. Choice closed $6.76 lower at $218.26 and Select closed $3.77 lower at $201.65. Estimated cattle slaughter is 120,000 head – that’s even on the week and down 4,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed higher ahead of Thursday’s export sales numbers on short-covering, with support from the firm pork values during the session. December lean hogs closed $.57 higher at $65.12 and February lean hogs closed $.67 higher at $66.27.
Cash hogs closed weak to lower with a solid negotiated run. Supplies of market-ready hogs is more than ample, and processors are still pushing daily slaughter totals higher. That’s helping to prevent any backlog of hogs in the production system, but also adds more pork to an already saturated market. Demand is facing some uncertainty and that adds pressure to prices. Hog weights rose to 291.1 pounds this week, and 0.4-pound increase from last week, and a 2.7-pound increase of year-ago levels. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.32 lower with a base range of $48 to $57 and a weighted average of $55.03; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.63 lower with a weighted average of $55.45; the Western Corn Belt closed $.72 lower with a weighted average of $55.41; the Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $39 and $40. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 lower with moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $25 to $37. Barrow and gilts prices were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $33 to $40. Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $5 to $10.
Pork values closed weak – down $.52 at $77.60. Butts and hams were sharply lower. Picnics, ribs, and loins were lower. Bellies closed higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 496,000 head – up 6,000 on the week and up 4,000 on the year.