Cattle futures head into Friday lower
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle closed lower with boxed beef down at midday, waiting to see how much direct cash business is left to be done. February live cattle closed $.22 lower at $137.82 and April contracts closed $.27 lower at $141.62. March feeder cattle closed $1.30 lower at $159.50 and April feeder cattle closed $1.10 lower at $165.10.
It was a rather sluggish Thursday for direct cash cattle trade. Look for a little cleanup business to trickle in before the end of the day Friday, but most of the week’s business has likely wrapped. Asking prices for cattle left on showlists will likely be restated around $137 plus live in the South and $219 plus dressed in the North. Southern live deals this week have been at mostly $137, fully steady with last week’s weighted averages. Northern dressed deals have been mostly at $218, also fully steady with the prior week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska. There was a special Fed Cattle Exchange Auction on Thursday with an offering of 2,686 head, of which 489 actually sold for $136 to $136.25 out of Kansas and 35 head out of California at $128.
At the Huss Livestock Market in Nebraska, compared to last week steers over 600 pounds were $2 to $5 lower and heifers 650 to 800 pounds were steady to $1 lower. The USDA says demand was moderate to good from the buyers in the crowd. Receipts were up on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 62% and 92% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 708 to 743 pounds brought $162 to $170.50 and feeder steers 753 to 793 pounds brought $160.25 to $164.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 650 to 693 pounds brought $148 to $157 and feeder heifers 700 to 745 pounds brought $145 to $153.50.
Boxed beef closed lower on light demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $.35 lower at $289.11 and Select closed $.62 lower at $279.10. The Choice/Select spread is $10.01. Estimated cattle slaughter is 118,000 head – up 2,000 on the week and down 3,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were pressured by technical selling, ignoring the steady to higher cash and midday strength in pork. February lean hogs closed $1 lower at $87.02 and April lean hogs closed $1.77 lower at $94.65.
Cash hogs closed sharply higher with a moderate negotiated run. Processors were aggressive in their procurement efforts to start the day. The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts. Demand for US pork on the global market and domestically has been strong, which helps provide some price support. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $5.53 higher with a weighted average of $73.82; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $9.18 higher with a weighted average of $84.11; the Western Corn Belt closed $8.40 higher with a weighted average of $83.77. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $47. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $34 to $44. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $39 to $48. Boars ranged form $20 to $25 and $10 to $15.
Pork values closed higher – up $3.59 at $98.19. Hams, bellies, ribs, and loins were all higher to sharply higher. Butts and picnics were lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 475,000 head – up 18,000 on the week and down 18,000 on the year.