Cattle, hog futures pressured at midweek
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day lower, watching direct cash business develop. Feeders had additional pressure from the higher move in corn. April live cattle closed $.70 lower at $144.75 and June live cattle closed $1.27 lower at $141.12. March feeder cattle closed $1.45 lower at $162.77 and April feeder cattle closed $.85 lower at $168.27.
Direct cash cattle trade has been slow to develop this week. There were just a handful of deals reported in Iowa and Nebraska at $227 dressed and in Kansas at $142 live. Asking prices were firm at $144 to $145 live in the South and $230 plus dressed in the North. Those will likely be restated on Thursday. Look for significant trade volume to develop over the balance of the week.
At the Philip Livestock Auction in South Dakota, compared to last week feeder steers under 650 pounds were steady. Steers 650 to 700 pounds were $4 higher, and steers 700 to 850 pounds were steady. Feeder heifers under 550 pounds were steady, heifers 550 to 650 pounds were $4 to $6 higher, and heifers 650 to 750 pounds were $2 to $4 higher. The USDA says demand was good for several load lots and packages of feeder heifers. The load lots sold on a very strong, active market while packages sold on a moderate market. The entire offering was home-raised, long-weaned, and fully vaccinated. All carried light to moderate flesh. Receipts were down from two weeks ago and on the year. Feeder supply included 63% steers and 73% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 658 to 697 pounds brought $180.50 to $192.25 and feeder steers 707 to 744 pounds brought $167 to $179.75. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 593 pounds brought $180 to $183.50 and feeder heifers 704 to 748 pounds brought $160.25 to $165.
Boxed beef closed lower and sharply lower on light demand for heavy offerings. Choice closed $.76 lower at $260.88 and Select closed $4.68 lower at $258.96. The Choice/Select spread remains narrow at $1.92. Estimated cattle slaughter is 123,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and the year.
Lean hog futures closed lower on profit-taking. April lean hogs closed $4.05 lower at $108.02 and May lean hogs closed $3 lower at $112.65.
Cash hogs closed sharply higher with a big negotiated run. Packers were more aggressive in their procurement efforts on Wednesday afternoon and bid up to move their desired numbers. Processors continue to monitor the availability of market-ready barrows and gilts. Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong, which has helped provide price support. However, there are some long-term concerns as it relates to demand and that has put added pressure on the price picture. Hogs weights this week dropped 1.1 pounds to 287.5 pounds. That’s up 0.7 pounds on the year. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $5.77 higher with a base range of $84 to $102 and a weighted average of $95.10; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $2.89 higher with a weighted average of $101.22 and the Western Corn Belt closed $2.80 higher with a weighted average of $100.63. Prices at 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 steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $55 to $66. Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings at $54 to $60. Boars ranged from $27 to $32 and $13 to $17.
Pork values closed higher – up $.36 at $109.12. Bellies, butts, and picnics were all higher. Ribs, loins, and hams were all lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 473,000 head – up 1,000 on the week and down 22,000 on the year. Tuesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 472,000 head.