Cattle futures mixed ahead of widespread direct business
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were mostly lower ahead of the week’s direct business. February live cattle closed $.45 lower at $116 and April live cattle closed $.07 higher at $122.70. January feeder cattle closed $.07 higher at $135.70 and March feeder cattle closed $.27 lower at $139.80.
Direct cash cattle trade activity was slow on Thursday with just some light trade reported. Deals in the South were at $110 to $112 live and $175 to $177 dressed in the North. But not near enough business to establish a trend. Asking prices were around $114 plus live in the South and $182 to $185 dressed in the North. Significant trade volume will likely develop sometime on Friday.
At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week steers sold steady to $3 higher and heifers were $2 to $4 higher. The USDA says demand was good from the buyers in the crowd, with additional interest from online buyers as well. Receipts were down significantly on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 52 percent steers and 92 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 701 to 747 pounds brought $142 to $152.50 and feeder steers 755 to 797 pounds brought $136 to $142.25. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 655 to 686 pounds brought $131.25 to $138.50 and feeder heifers 705 to 745 pounds brought $130 to $131.50.
Boxed beef closed sharply higher on good demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $2.33 higher at $231.99 and Select closed $1.89 higher at $220.88. The Choice/Select spread is $11.11. Estimated cattle slaughter is 120,000 that’s even on the week and down 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day mixed on spread trade. February lean hogs closed $.62 lower at $69.95 and April lean hogs closed $.07 higher at $76.37.
Cash hogs closed higher with a solid negotiated run. The industry remains optimistic demand for US pork will continue to see strength both domestically and on the global market. This week’s export sales report was positive, with pork export sales off to a strong start for the year. The heavy supplies, however, do limit the market’s ability to move higher for any significant period of time. Daily slaughter totals continue to push higher. That keeps supply chains moving, but it also adds more pork to an already saturated market. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.26 higher with a base range of $51 to $59 and a weighted average of $57.01. The Iowa/Minnesota closed $.84 higher with a weighted average of $58.35 and the Western Corn Belt closed $.57 higher with a weighted average of $58.07. The Eastern Corn Belt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $2 higher at $42. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with good demand for heavy offerings at $34 to $46. Barrow and gilt prices were steady with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $34 to $39. Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $5 to $10.
Pork values closed sharply higher – up $2.38 at $83.49. Loins, butts, bellies, and picnics were all sharply higher. Hams closed firm. Ribs were sharply lower.
Estimated hog slaughter is 495,000 head – down 3,000 on the week and up 4,000 on the year.