Cattle futures gain more ground, hogs mixed

Market News

Cattle futures gain more ground, hogs mixed

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were higher, getting ready for the week’s direct business. There was also some bullishness attached the Monday’s biannual USDA Cattle Inventory numbers, but the full impact of those tighter supplies and further contraction won’t be known for a while. February live was up $.72 at $140.30 and April was $.85 higher at $145.37. March feeders were $.67 higher at $163.70 and April was up $.70 at $169.15.

Cash cattle business was quiet on Tuesday. Asking prices are $140 plus in the South but aren’t established yet in the North. Packer interest has been limited. The week’s trade could be delayed watching severe winter weather move across parts of the country.

Boxed beef values closed lower. Choice closed $4.96 lower at $285.44 and select is $3.05 lower at $280.22. The choice/select spread is $5.22.

At the Tri-State Livestock Auction in McCook, Nebraska, compared to last week, steers over 550 pounds sold $2 to $4 higher. Heifers over 500 pounds sold steady to $9 higher. USDA says demand was good on strong supply. Feeder supply included 61 percent steers and 64 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 620 to 648 pounds brought $180 to $187 and steers from 715 to 738 pounds brought $163.50 to $169.25. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 550 to 594 pounds brought $166.50 to $173 and heifers from 661 to 689 pounds brought $150 to $160.

Estimated cattle slaughter is 121,000 head, up 3,000 on the week and year.

Lean hog futures were mixed, mostly higher, on spread trade and packer demand expectations, keeping an eye on a probable slowdown in movement in some areas due to a winter storm. February was $.32 lower at $88.15 and April was $1.97 higher at $97.67.

Due to packer submission issues, the closing numbers for the major direct hog markets were delayed. Cash hogs were higher at midday. Processors are moving their desired numbers without having to get aggressive in their procurement efforts. Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, which is expected to continue. However, there are long term demand concerns which has been pressuring prices. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct are $.31 higher with a base range of $65 to $88 for a weighted average of $67; the regional direct markets were not reported due to confidentiality.

Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were steady at $48.

At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady to $1 higher at $38 to $49, with moderate demand for heavy offerings. Barrow and gilt prices were steady to $1 higher at $44 to $52, with moderate demand for moderate offerings. Boars brought $12 to $30.

Closing pork cutouts numbers were also delayed, but they were down $.79 at midday at $93.72. Hams and picnics are sharply lower, both down more than $3; bellies are up nearly $3, ribs are up more than $2, loins and butts are also higher.

Estimated hog slaughter is 480,000 head, up 9,000 on the week but down 7,000 on the year.