Cattle futures up on cash optimism
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were higher, optimistic about this week’s widespread direct cash business. Feeders did see occasional support from corn, which was down for much of the session, but closed mixed, with deferred contracts turning firm late. December live was up $.50 at $138.17 and February was $.70 higher at $139.65. January feeders were up $1.12 at $165.25 and March was $.85 higher at $167.95.
Direct cash cattle markets were quiet. The day’s big feature was the distribution of this week’s show list, which looks larger than last week across all major feeding areas. Bids and asking prices expected to start to surface over the next few days. Last week’s business was mainly at $143 on the live basis and $220 dressed, both $3 higher than the previous week. Trade volume and formula totals were all higher last week.
At midsession at the Oklahoma National Stockyards feeder cattle sale in Oklahoma City, compared to last week, feeder steers were steady to $3 higher and feeder heifers were unevenly steady, while steer calves were $2 to $4 higher and heifer calves were $2 to $5 lower. The USDA says demand was moderate to good for the mostly attractive offering, with receipts up on the week and the year. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds ranged from $159 to $176 and 800 to 900-pound steers sold at $156 to $175. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds were reported at $144 to $166 and 600 to 700-pound heifers brought $144 to $160.
Boxed beef closed lower, with lighter offerings than in previous days. Choice was down $1.83 at $272.53 and Select beef was $.79 lower at $257.85. The estimated cattle slaughter of 122,000 head was up 1,000 on the week and 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were sharply lower on technical weakness and the sharply lower cash during the session, ignoring the sharply higher midday move in pork. Additionally, most contracts, including the in-delivery December, are carrying a significant premium to the cash index. December was down $1.95 at $72.05 and February was $3.27 lower at $78.22.
Cash hogs were sharply lower with decent negotiated sales. Buyers stepped back from last week’s aggressive spending, possibly having filled shackle space for the near future. Still, that could change if they run into resistance or find some open space later this week. The industry continues to monitor supply and demand factors, along with the onset of winter weather in portions of the Midwest.
National direct barrow and gilts closed $1.29 lower with a base price range of $54 to $66 and a weighted average of $60.51, while the Iowa/Southern Minnesota and the Western Corn Belt direct markets both averaged $64.23. The butcher hog market in Dorchester, Wisconsin had no official recent comparison at $50. That would be down $8 from the previous test reported last Thursday. Garnavillo, Iowa is closed this week. Illinois direct sows were steady at $58 to $68 on light demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $32 to $39 with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars ranged from $10 to $25.
The pork carcass cutout value at closed $2.34 higher at $83.71. Loins led the gains, with butts, picnics, ribs, and hams also sharply higher. The belly primal was modestly lower. The estimated hog slaughter of 460,000 head was down 23,000 on the week and 28,000 on the year.