Livestock futures see profit taking
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were mostly lower and feeders were down modestly on spread trade, profit taking, and the recent trend in beef. Feeders largely ignored the weak trade in corn. February live was up $.47 at $141.60 and April was down $.15 at $146.75. March feeders were $.15 lower at $166.72 and April was down $.02 at $171.80.
Light direct cattle business developed in the South on Thursday at $140, around $4 higher than last week’s weighted averages. The North was quiet after light trade at $222 yesterday but scattered trade is expected to close the week. Southern asking prices are at $140 plus while Northern asking prices are coming in at $224 plus.
Boxed beef values closed lower. Choice is $1.69 lower at $281.46 and select is $3.10 lower at $276.47. The choice/select spread is $4.99.
At the Winter Livestock auction in La Junta, Colorado, compared to last week, steers under 700 pounds sold $3 to $5 higher, steers over 700 pounds sold steady to $2 higher. Heifers under 700 pounds sold steady to $2 higher and heifers over 700 pounds sold mostly steady. USDA says demand was good with strong supply and an active sale. Receipts were sharply up on the week but down on the year. Feeder supply included 46 percent steers and 53 percent of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 564 to 595 pounds brought $183 to $192 and steers from 654 to 684 brought $157 to $163.50. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 477 to 497 pounds brought $168.50 to $178 and heifers from 550 to 588 pounds brought $155 to $166.50.
Estimated cattle slaughter is 117,000 head, down 1,000 on the week but up 1,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the session lower on a lack of follow through buying and the lower midday pork. February was down $.90 at $86.45 and April was $.75 lower at $98.37.
Cash hogs closed higher on moderate negotiated purchases to continue their upward trend. 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 are $1.13 higher with a base range of $70 to $90 for a weighted average of $87.49; the Iowa/Minnesota has a weighted average of $88.50; the Western Cornbelt has a weighted average of $87.58; the Eastern Cornbelt was not reported due to confidentiality.
The pork carcass cutout value closed higher, up $.77 at $97.21. Bellies closed sharply higher; hams and butts were higher; picnics and loins closed lower; ribs were sharply lower.
Estimated hog slaughter is 424,000 head, down 51,000 on the week and 34,000 on the year.