Cattle futures lower ahead of direct cash business
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were lower, watching corn, and waiting for direct business to develop. February live cattle closed $.55 lower at $138.30 and April live cattle closed $.37 lower at $142. January feeder cattle closed $.95 lower at $164.57 and March feeder cattle closed $.07 lower at $166.40.
It was a quiet Tuesday for direct cash cattle trade activity. There were a handful of deals reported at $138 live in Texas, but not near enough to establish a trend. A few scattered bids surfaced at $138 live in the South. Asking prices were at $140 to $142 live in the South, while the North remains inactive. It’s likely the bulk of the week’s business will take place midweek or later.
At the Tri-State Livestock Auction in Nebraska, compared to last week, steers under 650 pounds were $4 to $10 lower. Steers over 650 pounds were $4 to $7 higher. There were not enough heifers for an accurate comparison. The USDA says demand was good on weaned and heavier cattle. Receipts were up from the previous week and down on the year. Feeder supply included 67% steers and 58% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 512 to 547 pounds brought $183 to $190 and feeder steers 655 to 692 pounds brought $155 to $168.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 551 to 584 pounds brought $148 to $167 and feeder heifers 766 pounds brought $149.50.
Boxed beef closed sharply lower with light demand for solid offerings. Choice is $2.50 lower at $260.72 and Select closed $4.84 lower at $248.80. The Choice/Select spread is $11.92. Estimated cattle slaughter is 122,000 head – down 1,000 on the week and up 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were pressured by follow-through selling and long-term demand concerns. February lean hogs closed $.67 lower at $80.07 and April lean hogs closed $.75 lower at $85.10.
Cash hogs closed higher with a solid negotiated run. Processors bid up on Tuesday to move their desired numbers. All eyes remain on the availability of market-ready hogs, especially with next week’s release of the USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. Demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been strong, however, there are some long-term demand concerns which have been pressuring prices.
Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.95 higher with a base range of $57 to $66 and a weighted average of $60.50; both the Iowa/Minnesota and the Western Corn Belt had weighted averages of $62.58. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $50.At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $1 to $2 lower with moderate demand for heavy offering at $54 to $63. Barrows and gilts were mostly $1 lower with light demand for moderate offerings at $35 to $40. Boars ranged from $12 to $17 and $5 to $10.
Pork values closed lower – down $1.55 at $85.48. Loins and bellies were both sharply lower. Picnics, ribs, and butts were lower. Hams were higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 483,000 head – up 13,000 on the week and down 9,000 on the year.