Cattle futures slide ahead of direct business
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower, with boxed beef lower at midday, ahead of the week’s direct business. February live cattle closed $.42 lower at $139.22 and April live cattle closed $.42 lower at $142.45. January feeder cattle closed $.22 lower at $165.02 and March feeder cattle closed $.47 lower at $167.47.
It was another relatively quiet day for direct cash cattle trade activity. Bids didn’t surface. Asking prices have been noted anywhere from $140 to $142 live in the North and $145 live in the South. The North, however, has been quiet. Significant trade volume will likely be delayed until midweek or later.
At the Callaway Livestock Center, compared to last week, the best test on steer calves weighed 500 to 700 pounds were steady to firm. Yearling steers over 700 pounds sold with a firm undertone on very light offerings. Feeder heifers 400 to 600 pounds were steady to $5 higher with instances of $8 higher on 550-to-600-pound heifers and heifers over 600 pounds sold with a higher undertone on a limited test. Receipts were up on the week and down on the year. Feeder supply included 64% steers and 42% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 554 to 597 pounds brought $165 to $177 and feeder steers 601 to 648 pounds brought $161 to $174. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 501 to 544 pounds brought $153 to $162 and feeder heifers 550 to 599 pounds brought $155 to $166.
Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand for strong offerings. Choice closed $4.50 lower at $268.03 and Select closed $2.17 lower at $255.68. The Choice/Select spread is $12.35. Estimated cattle slaughter is 123,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 7,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day lower, pressured by follow-through selling and lower cash business. February lean hogs closed $1.67 lower at $76.55 and April lean hogs closed $1.60 lower at $82.05.
Closing cash hog prices were delayed due to technical issues at the USDA. Business started the week sharply lower following a strong end to the previous week. Demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been very good. And while that is expected to continue, there is some long-term concern and that has been adding pressure to price. Processors continue to move their desired numbers without having to aggressively bid up and all eyes remain on the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are $2 lower at $48. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 to $3 lower, with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $56 to $66. Barrows and gilts were mostly $1 to $2 higher with good demand for moderate offerings at $35 to $41. Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $10 to $15.
Closing pork values were also delayed due to technical issues at the USDA.
Estimated hog slaughter is 470,000 head – down 10,000 on the week and down 23,000 on the year. Monday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 454,000 head.