Cattle futures head into Friday higher
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher ahead of widespread direct business. February live cattle closed $.97 higher at $116.45 and April live cattle closed $1.30 higher at $123.75. March feeder cattle closed $.97 higher at $139.50 and April feeder cattle closed $.85 higher at $142.67.
Direct cash cattle trade activity picked up on Thursday. A light trade was reported in Nebraska at $178 to $180 dressed, steady to mostly $2 higher than last week’s weighted averages and there were also a handful of deals reported in Iowa at $114 live. Asking prices were around $115 plus live in the South and $182 to $185 dressed in the North. The bulk of the week’s business is holding out until Friday. There was a special Fed Cattle Exchange held on Thursday with 663 head listed and 175 head sold at $113.75.
At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week steers 600 to 700 pounds were $2 higher and steers over 700 pounds were unevenly steady. Heifers over 600 pounds were steady to $2 lower. The USDA says demand was good from the buyers in the crowd with good online activity as well. Receipts were up on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 64 percent steers and 86 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 653 to 698 pounds brought $144 to $154.25 and feeder steers 800 to 844 pounds brought $134 to $143.25. Feeder heifers 600 to 630 pounds brought $135 to $144.50 and feeder heifers 700 to 729 pounds brought $126 to $131.60.
Boxed beef closed lower to sharply lower on light demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $1.02 lower at $234.25 and Select closed $2.95 lower at $220.44. The Choice/Select spread is $13.81. Estimated cattle slaughter is 116,000, that’s down 4,000 on the week and down 6,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were mixed on spread trade, with support from higher cash and wholesale business. February lean hogs closed $1.35 lower at $71.02 and April lean hogs closed $.10 higher at $79.30.
Cash hogs ended the day mixed with a moderate negotiated run. Expectations for continued strong demand for pork is helping to keep prices supported. There are reports that much of the backlog of hogs in the production system have dwindled in most areas. However, the industry continues to monitor the supply picture as the availability to market-ready hogs is more than ample, and processors continue to push daily slaughter totals higher. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.78 lower with a base range of $51 to $67 with a weighted average of $61.16; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.11 higher with a weighted average of $64.62; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.44 lower with a weighted average of $64.23. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $44. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 to $2 higher with good demand for heavy offerings at $40 to $51. Barrow and gilt prices were $1 higher with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $36 to $41. Boars ranged from $15 to $20 and $5 to $10.
Pork values closed sharply higher – up $5.60 at $85.83. Hams and bellies both ended the day sharply higher. Loins were higher. Picnics, butts, and ribs were lower to sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 466,000 head – down 29,000 on the week and down 26,000 on the year.