Cattle futures mixed ahead of direct business

Market News

Cattle futures mixed ahead of direct business

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were mixed, mostly lower ahead of widespread direct cash trade.  February live cattle closed $1.07 lower at $113.40 and April live cattle closed $.95 lower at $118.35.  January feeder cattle closed $.17 higher at $136 and March feeder cattle closed $.07 higher at $136.90. 

A quiet start to the week for direct cash cattle trade activity.  Bids and asking prices have yet to surface.  Showlists this week are somewhat higher in Texas, and higher in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado.  Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until the latter half of the week. 

At midsession at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, compared to last week, feeder steers are $1 to $3 higher.  Feeder heifers have lightly tested so far, so no trend is available.  Steer and heifer calves are steady to $4 higher.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good.  Receipts are down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 64 percent steers and 62 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 555 to 589 pounds brought $153 to $175 and feeder steers 702 to 731 pounds brought $132 to $149.50.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 610 to 648 pounds brought $126 to $134.25 and feeder heifers 718 to 743 pounds brought $124.50 to $127.50. 

Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for moderate offerings.  Choice closed $.89 higher at $207.69 and Select closed $.95 lower at $195.74.  The Choice/Select spread is $11.95.  Estimated cattle slaughter is 119,000 head – up 7,000 on the week and down 3,000 on the year. 

Lean hog futures closed mostly higher on spread trade.  Sharply higher pork values were largely supportive, but the market is concerned about the long-term demand picture.  February lean hogs closed $.22 lower at $68.47 and April lean hogs closed $.12 higher at $72.95. 

Cash hogs closed firm with a fairly light negotiated run.  Supply and demand continue to be the largest focus for the industry.  The availability of market-ready barrows and gilts remains more than ample and daily slaughter totals continue to run at or near record high levels almost daily.  While that’s helping to keep the supply chain moving and helps prevent more hogs from backing up in the production system, it adds more pork to an already saturated market at a time when demand is uncertain.  Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.58 higher with a base range of $44 to $56.07 with a weighted average of $55.52. The Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.38 lower with a weighted average of $52.17 and the Western Corn Belt closed $2.05 lower with a weighted average of $51.05.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $39.  At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with good demand for heavy offerings at $26 to $40.  Barrow and gilt prices were steady with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $31 to $39.  Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $4 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $2.38 at $83.38.  Hams closed more than $13 higher.  Butts were also sharply higher.  Loins and ribs were firm.  Bellies and picnics sharply lower.   Estimated hog slaughter is 498,000 head – up 8,000 on the week and up 2,000 on the year.