Cattle futures mixed heading into Friday

Market News

Cattle futures mixed heading into Friday

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live cattle were mostly lower and feeders were mixed adjusting spreads, watching the direct cash trade.  There continues to be pressure from the ongoing decline in wholesale values. October live cattle closed $.57 lower at $123.60 and December live cattle closed $.87 lower at $128.57.  September feeder cattle closed $1.15 higher at $155.87 and October feeder cattle closed $.60 higher at $157.10. 

It was quiet Thursday for direct cash cattle trade following the light to moderate business that took place on Wednesday.  There’s likely to be at least some clean-up business take place over the balance of the week.  Look for asking prices for cattle left on showlists to be restated around $125 live in the South and $202 dressed in the North.  Southern live deals on Wednesday were marked at mostly $123 to $124, steady with last week’s weighted averages, while deals in the North were mostly $200 dressed, down $1 from the weighted average for Nebraska. Beef export sales of 15,300 tons were 23% higher than the previous week, with Japan and South Korea leading the way.

At the Mitchell Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to last week feeder steers 850 to 1050 were $2 to $4 lower and feeder heifers 750 and up were $1 to $3 lower.  The USDA says demand was fair with many load lots in the offering.  Receipts were down on the week and the year.  Feeder supply included 51% steers and 99% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 858 to 878 pounds brought $149.50 to $155.50 and feeder steers 907 to 933 pounds brought $144.50 to $157.10.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 818 to 845 pounds brought $140.35 to $149.50 and feeder heifers 922 to 949 pounds brought $138.75 to $140.75. 

Boxed beef continued its’ slide and closed lower again on Thursday.  Choice was down $1.82 at $318 and Select closed $3.62 lower at $280.27. The Choice/Select spread is $37.73. Estimated cattle slaughter is 120,000 head – even on the week and the year. 

Lean hog futures ended the day higher, supported by higher pork values and long-term demand expectations.  October lean hogs closed $3.20 higher at $85.47 and December lean hogs closed $2.20 higher at $74.45. 

Cash hogs closed lower with moderate negotiated purchases.  Most buyers have issued another round of mostly lower bids, continuing to monitor the volatility in cash, futures, and wholesale business. Buyers have been able to move the needed numbers at lower prices over the last week couple of weeks, using those still ample market-ready supplies for leverage. Demand strength for US pork on the global market and domestically has been relatively strong, which is expected to continue. Pork exports of 25,300 tons were down 25% on the week, with Mexico and the Dominican Republic the top buyers. China picked up a relatively routine 1,800 tons. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.86 lower at $78 to $91 with a weighted average of $81.64. The Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $83.06 and the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $82.58.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.

The butcher hog market at Dorchester, Wisconsin is $2 lower at $68. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 to $2 lower with good demand for moderate to heavy offerings at $59 to $75.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $51 to $60.  Boars ranged from $30 to $40 and $12 to $18. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.27 at $105.97.  Bellies and loins both closed sharply higher.  Ribs and picnics were higher.  Butts and hams were lower and sharply lower.  Estimated hog slaughter is 463,000 head – down 15,000 on the week and down 6,000 on the year.  Wednesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 467,000 head.