Hogs sharply higher, cattle continue upward trend
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle were higher, with most months up sharply, supported by follow through buying and direct cash business during the session. Feeders picked up additional support from the lower move in corn. February live was $.82 higher at $141.12 and April was up $1.52 at $146.90. March feeders were up $3.17 at $166.89 and April was $2.67 higher at $171.82.
Light direct cash cattle trade developed in the north on Wednesday at $222, $4 higher than last week’s weighted averages. Business hasn’t been established yet in the south with asking prices at $140 plus and $223 plus in the North. Widespread business could wait until later this week, depending on packer demand.
Boxed beef values closed lower Wednesday. Choice closed $2.29 lower at $283.15 and select ended the day $.65 lower at $279.57. The choice/select spread is $3.58.
At the West Point Livestock Feeder Cattle auction in Nebraska, compared to last week, steers under 800 pounds sold $9 to $11 higher while steers over 800 pounds sold $5 to $6 lower. Heifers sold $2 to $4 higher. USDA says demand was good on heavy offerings. Supply included 50 percent steers and 71 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 603 to 645 pounds brought $170 to $189 and steers from 754 to 787 pounds brought $162 to $173. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 603 to 619 brought $163 to $169.25 and heifers from 702 to 716 pounds brought $151.75 to $169.
Estimated cattle slaughter was 121,000 head, up 3,000 on the week and 1,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures were mixed, mostly higher on spread adjustments, aggressively moving out of the lightly traded February contract, with support from the session’s cash and wholesale business. February was down $.80 at $87.35 and April was up $1.45 at $99.12.
Cash hogs closed higher. Processors had been moving their desired numbers with little trouble, but extreme winter weather in some areas has caused more aggressive buying. 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 finished sharply higher, up $14.01 for a base range of $66 to $90 and a weighted average of $86.36; the Iowa/Minnesota closed at $89.52; the Western Cornbelt closed at $89.53; the Eastern Cornbelt was not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were $3 higher Wednesday at $51.
Pork values closed higher, up $3.47 at $96.44. Hams closed more than $10 higher; butts, loins and bellies are higher; ribs and picnics closed lower.
Estimated hog slaughter was 432,000 head, down 43,000 on the week and 67,000 on the year.