Hog futures supported by strong cash business
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day mixed, mostly higher waiting for direct business to develop. Live cattle closed $1.05 lower at $116.15 and April life cattle closed $.62 higher at $125.80. March feeder cattle closed $.07 lower at $140.77 and April feeder cattle closed $.12 lower at $144.60.
Direct cash cattle trade activity was quiet on Tuesday. Bids have been slow to surface and asking prices are around $116 plus live in the South, with nothing surfacing out of the North. Showlists this week appear to be mixed, higher in Texas, but lower in Kanas and Nebraska, and Colorado. Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until sometime Thursday or Friday.
Weather continues to create challenges, forcing cancellations of sales across the country. In Missouri last week, feeder steers were uneven with most of the mid-weight cattle selling between $2 higher and $2 lower. Receipts were down significantly on the week as the weather continues to force sale barns to close, and barns that were able to hold sales had very light offerings. Feeder supply included 55 percent steers and 57 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 600 to 648 pounds brought $140 to $158 and feeder steers 600 to 648 pounds brought $140 to $158 and feeder steers 700 to 747 pounds brought $120 to $149. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 500 to 547 pounds brought $125 to $157.10 and feeder heifers 650 to 698 pounds brought $115 to $139.
Boxed beef closed higher on good demand for fairly light offerings. Choice is $2.33 higher at $234.77 and Select is $.62 higher at $222.03. The Choice/Select spread is $12.74. Estimated cattle slaughter is 95,000 head – down 20,000 on the week and down 30,000 on the year. Monday’s cattle slaughter has been revised to 79,000 head.
Lean hog futures were supported by the sharply higher cash business during the session and long-term demand expectations. April lean hogs closed $.97 higher at $86.17 and May lean hogs closed $1.17 higher at $88.27.
Cash hogs closed sharply higher with a fairly light negotiated run. The winter weather across much of the country is impacting markets. Processors did bid up on Tuesday helping to move prices higher. The industry remains optimistic demand for US pork will continue to see strength on both the global and domestic markets and that’s been largely supportive to prices. Supplies of market-ready barrows and gilts are more than ample and daily slaughter totals, for the most part, have been pushing higher. That’s adding more pork to the market. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.47 higher with a base range of $61 to $71 for a weighted average of $69.56. There was no comparison at the Iowa/Minnesota but a weighted average of $69.71 and a weighted average at the Western Corn Belt of $69.86. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady and ranging from $60 to $66 in Garnavillo, Iowa. Illinois slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with very good demand for light to moderate offerings at $48 to $60. Barrow and gilt prices were steady with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $41 to $47. Boars ranged from $20 to $25 and $10 to $13.
Pork values closed sharply lower – down $1.55 at $89.71. Picnics, hams, bellies were all sharply lower. Ribs were lower. Loins and butts were higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 419,000 head – down 75,000 on the week and down 72,000 on the year. Monday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 412,000 head.