Cattle futures supported by lower corn
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher, with feeders in the lead on the lower corn. April live cattle closed $.55 higher at $146.90. March feeder cattle closed $1.85 higher at $168.72.
It was another sluggish day for direct cash cattle trade activity. One bid did surface at $223 dressed, however, the rest of cattle country was quiet. Asking prices in the South were at $142 to $143 plus live, while the North did not disclose. Look for significant trade volume to develop over the balance of the week.
At the Callaway Livestock Auction in Missouri, compared to two weeks ago, steer calves 450 to 600 pounds were mostly $10 to $15 higher with spots of $18 higher. Steers 600 to 800 pounds were $3 to $7 higher. Feeder heifers 400 to 500 pounds sold with sharply higher undertones. Feeder heifers 500 to 600 pounds were $12 to $20 higher. The USDA says demand was very good on a moderate to heavy offering. Quality ran deep and top-quality calves sold with very good demand. Buyers were aggressive, especially for calves that will go to grass. Receipts were up from two weeks ago. Feeder supply included 56% steers and 58% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 656 to 698 pounds brought $169 to $177 and feeder steers 700 to 728 pounds brought $167 to $173.25. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 618 to 639 pounds brought $161.25 to $164 and feeder heifers 660 to 692 pounds brought $150 to $156.50.
Boxed beef closed sharply lower and lower on light demand for solid offerings. Choice closed $3.59 lower at $270.37 and Select closed $.93 lower at $267.82. The Choice/Select spread is $2.55. Estimated cattle slaughter is 123,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and up 31,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures ended the day higher, supported by higher midday pork and commercial buying. April lean hogs closed $1.82 higher at $104.15.
Cash hogs closed higher with a big negotiated run. Processors bid up to move their desired numbers on Tuesday in a very aggressive fashion. The industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs. Demand for US pork on the global market remains strong. However, there are long-term demand concerns stemming from rising prices to worries about product availability and sustained demand. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $2.90 higher with a base range of $78 to $97 and a weighted average of $89.41 and the Western Corn Belt closed $4.22 higher with a weighted average of $95.93. Prices at the Iowa/Minnesota and the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $60. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $52 to $63. Barrow and gilt prices were $2 higher with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $54 to $60. Boars ranged from $27 to $32 and $13 to $17.
Pork values closed lower – down $1.26 at $106.72. Picnics, hams, and loins were lower. Ribs, butts, and bellies were all higher. Estimated hog slaughter is 478,000 head – up 6,000 on the week and up 69,000 on the year.