Cattle futures slide ahead of direct cash trade
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day lower ahead of the week’s direct cash business. Boxed beef was also lower at midday. February live cattle closed $.55 lower at $137.67 and April live cattle closed $.57 lower at $141.87. January feeder cattle closed $1.62 lower at $163.40 and March feeder cattle closed $1.60 lower at $165.87.
It was another relatively quiet day for direct cash cattle trade activity. A few scattered bids surfaced at $220 dressed in Nebraska. Asking prices were around $144 to $145 live in the South, and $224 to $225 dressed in the North. Look for the bulk of the week’s business to take place Thursday or Friday.
At the Ozarks Regional Stockyards in Missouri, compared to last week steer calves under 600 pounds were $3 to $6 higher and heavier weights were steady to $3 higher. Heifer calves were steady to $4 higher. The USDA says demand was very good on a moderate to heavy supply. There has been an uptick in demand for lightweight calves, with 3 and 4 weight steers in the $2+ range. Yearlings have also been in high demand. Receipts were up on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 51% steers and 38% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 550 to 589 pounds brought $171 to $185 and feeder steers 602 to 634 pounds brought $163 to $178. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 452 to 489 pounds brought $154 to $165 and feeder heifers 500 to 539 pounds brought $146 to $156.
Boxed beef closed sharply lower on light demand for solid offerings. Choice closed $2.92 lower at $264.11 and Select closed $2.59 lower at $253.09. The Choice/Select spread is $11.02. Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – even on the week and up 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day mixed on spread trade and the conflicting fundamentals. February lean hogs closed $.50 lower at $76.05 and April lean hogs closed $.62 lower at $81.42.
Cash hogs closed sharply lower with a fairly light negotiated run. Demand for US pork has been strong on the global market. While the industry does anticipate that continuing, there are some long-term demand concerns which has been pressuring prices. Processors continue to move their desired numbers without having to aggressively bid up and all eyes are watching the availability of market-ready hogs. Average hog weights at the Iowa/Minnesota are at 291.8 pounds, up a pound on the week and up .7 pounds on the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $4.16 lower with a base range of $55 to $67 and a weighted average of $57.76; the Iowa/Minnesota had a weighted average of $64.48; the Western Corn Belt had a weighted average of $64.35. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets dropped $2 again on Wednesday to $46. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices are steady to $1 lower, with moderate demand for very heavy offerings at $54 to $65. Barrows and gilts were mostly $1 higher with good demand for moderate offerings at $36 to $42. Boars ranged from $15 to $22 and $10 to $15.
Pork values closed sharply higher – up $9.35 at $90.44. Hams jumped more than $29 on Wednesday. Bellies were also sharply higher. Loins and butts were higher. Ribs and picnics were lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 472,000 head – down 8,000 on the week and down 20,000 on the year.