Cattle futures lower heading into Friday
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle closed lower watching corn and waiting for some direct cash business to develop. April live cattle closed $.85 lower at $118.55 and June live cattle closed $.70 lower at $116.97. March feeder cattle closed $1.90 lower at $135.10 and April feeders closed $2.32 lower at $138.97.
Direct cash cattle trade activity was sluggish on Thursday. Bids surfaced at $114 live and $178 and $180 dressed in the North. Asking prices in the South are firm at $115 to $116 while the North has been quiet. Additional business should develop over the balance of the week.
At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week steers were steady to $5 lower, except 700 pound steers which were $3 higher. Heifers were steady to $5 higher. There were several buyers in person and online and the market was active. The USDA says demand was good through the sale. Most lots were longtime weaned and fully vaccinated. Receipts were down on the week and up on the year. Feeder supply included 60 percent steers and 91 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 750 to 790 pounds brought $136.75 and feeder steers 857 to 893 pounds brought $127.75 to $135.10. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 650 to 695 pounds brought $131.35 to $142.25 and feeder heifers 751 to 796 pounds brought $126 to $128.75.
Boxed beef closed mixed on light to moderate demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $.85 higher at $233.88 and Select closed $2.56 lower at $221.68. The Choice/Select spread is $12.20. Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head – even on the week and down 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were mixed on bullish fundamentals and the bearish technicals. April lean hogs closed $.62 lower at $87.30 and May lean hogs closed $.05 higher at $89.40.
Cash hogs closed higher again with a huge negotiated run. Packers continue to bid up to move their desired numbers. The industry remains optimistic demand for US pork will hold on both the global market and domestically and that’s been very supportive to prices. However, the market is keeping a close eye on the supply situation. The availability of market-ready hogs is more than ample and daily slaughter totals continue at very high levels. Should a disruption to demand occur, prices would be negatively impacted. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.93 higher with a base range of $75 to $89 with a weighted average of $84.68; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.07 higher at $86.90; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.64 higher at $86.83. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $52 and $50. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 to $2 higher with very good demand for heavy offerings at $63 to $76. Barrow and gilt prices were firm with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $53 to $58. Boars ranged from $25 to $30 and $12 to $15.
Pork values closed higher- up $2.11 at $93.52. Picnics and hams were sharply higher. Loins and butts were higher. Bellies were lower and ribs were sharply lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 495,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and the year.