Cattle, hog futures higher ahead of Friday’s reports

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Cattle, hog futures higher ahead of Friday’s reports

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle closed higher ahead of Thursday Cattle on Feed numbers.  February live cattle closed $.45 higher at $137.37 and April live cattle closed $.77 higher at $142.12.  January feeder cattle closed $.92 higher at $161.77 and March feeder cattle closed $.10 higher at $161.92. 

Buyer interest picked up Wednesday and so did direct cash cattle trade activity.  Deals were reported at $135 live in the South and $218 dressed in the North.  Bids in other parts of cattle country were firm $135 live and $217 to $218 dressed.  Trade volume for the next couple of weeks is expected to be small due to the holidays.  Some scattered clean-up business is expected on Thursday.  Deals this week have been at $135 live in both the South and the North, that is $1 to $3 below the previous week’s weighted average basis. 

At the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Missouri, compared to last week steers and heifers were steady.  Higher quality cattle that had been weaned and vaccinated found good demand.  But overall, the quality wasn’t as attractive as usual.  Receipts were down on the week.  Feeder supply included 42% steers and 38% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 550 to 595 pounds brought $172.25 to $187.75 and feeder steers 702 to 741 pounds brought $162.50 to $170.25.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 456 to 499 pounds brought $157 to $171 and feeder heifers 555 to 588 pounds brought $159 to $163. 

Boxed beef closed higher on good demand for moderate offerings.  Choice is $.47 higher at $261.86 and Select closed $.91 higher at $250.83.  The Choice/Select spread is $11.03. Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head – up 8,000 on the week and the year. 

Lean hog futures closed higher ahead of the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, supported by higher pork values during the session.  February lean hogs closed $.92 higher at $83.35 and April lean hogs closed $1.12 higher at $86.70. 

Cash hogs closed higher with a fairly light negotiated run.  Processors continue to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts and, for the most part, have been able to move their desired numbers without having to aggressively bid up.  Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, and that is expected to continue.  But there are concerns, which have been putting pressure on prices. All eyes will be on Thursday’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report from the USDA.  Hog weights this week dropped to 289.3 pounds, that’s 1.5 pounds below last week, but 0.6 pounds above year-ago levels. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $.55 higher with a base range of $59 to $64 and a weighted average of $61.09.  Prices at the regional direct markets were not reported due to confidentiality. 

Midwest cash markets are closed this week.

Pork values closed lower – down $.24 at $84.67.  Bellies and picnics were both sharply lower while loins, ribs, butts, and hams were all higher.  Estimated hog slaughter is 474,000 head – up 37,000 on the week and up 44,000 on the year.