Cattle, hog futures steady to lower
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were mostly lower ahead of widespread direct business and the expiration of the December contract Thursday. December was $.07 higher at $112.12 and February was $.12 lower at $114.45.
Feeder cattle were pressured by the recent rally in corn. January was $1.10 lower at $138.52 and March was down $1.47 at $139.75.
Direct cash cattle trade has been mostly quiet today. Live deals in Texas have come in at $111, $1 higher than last week’s weighted average. Asking prices in the south are from $112 to $114 and $178 plus in the north.
Boxed beef cutout values closed higher. Choice is up 23 cents at $210.53 and select is $4.38 higher at $199.86. The choice select spread is $10.67.
At the Callaway Livestock Center in Kingdom City, Missouri, steers and heifers sold steady to higher but had too little business for confident price comparison. The USDA says loads sold well and buyers were eager to buy yearlings while they still could. Supply included 82 percent steers and 82 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 steers weighing 701 to 721 pounds brought $144.50 to $151.10 for an average of $148.30; steers weighing 870 to 896 pounds brought $139.25 to $140.35 for an average of $139.80. Medium and large 1 heifers weighing 516 to 554 pounds brought $136 to $141.75; heifers weighing 601 to 638 brought $140.
Estimated cattle slaughter is 117,000 head, up 4,000 on the week and a full 117,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were mixed on spread adjustments, the steady to lower cash, and firm midday pork. February was up $.40 at $67.60 and April was unchanged at $71.07.
Cash hogsclosed lower Wednesday. The market is seeing downward pressure from a backlog of hogs entering an already ample market. This is happening at a time when packer schedules are starting to be reduced for the New Years holiday. Buyers and sellers will be watching the supply and demand picture closely as China continues the rebuilding of its hog herd.
Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct ended the day down $1.03 for a weighted average of $49.01. The Iowa/Minnesota closed 40 cents lower for a weighted average of $50.04. The Western Cornbelt closed 52 cents lower for a weighted average of $50.04. The Eastern Cornbelt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Pork values finished modestly higher. Loins and hams closed sharply higher. Butts ended higher. Picnics, bellies and ribs closed lower to sharply lower.
Estimated hog slaughter is 472,000, up 42,000 on the week and a full 472,000 on the year.