Cattle futures gain ahead of direct business
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply higher, with boxed beef up at midday, getting ready for the week’s direct business. April live was up $2.12 at $137.90 and June was $1.40 higher at $133.92. March feeders were $1.47 higher at $154.60 and April was up $2.42 at $159.67.
Direct cash cattle markets were quiet. This week’s show list looks mixed, higher in Kansas, but lower in Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska. Widespread business is expected to start Wednesday or Thursday. Last week’s trade was mainly at $140 on the live basis and $225 dressed, both $2 lower than the previous week’s respective weighted averages.
Boxed beef closed firm to sharply higher with good movement. Choice was up $.38 at $254.71 and Select gained $1.81 to close at $250.22. The estimated cattle slaughter of 125,000 head was up 3,000 on the week and 5,000 on the year.
At the Oklahoma National Stockyards Monday, compared to the previous week’s light test, feeder steers were $4 to $6 lower and feeder heifers were $5 to $8 lower. Steer and heifer calves were lightly tested, but with a lower undertone noted. The USDA says quality was plain through attractive, with 58% of the run steers and 50% of the offering weighing more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 600 to 700 pounds sold at $165.50 to $188 and Medium and Large 1 to 2 steers weighing 500 to 600 pounds ranged from $160 to $192. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 400 to 500 pounds brought $165 to $175 and 500-to-600-pound heifers were reported at $153.50 to $169.
Lean hog futures were lower on commercial selling and pork demand uncertainties. April was down $.17 at $100.27 and May was $.67 lower at $105.07.
Cash hogs were sharply higher with decent negotiated numbers, following through on last week’s direct market strength. Even if the futures market seems to be concerned about demand factors, most buyers decided they needed to have more near term numbers on hand. Buyers will continue to assess the availability of market ready numbers, the potential for weather issues in parts of the region, and demand signals.
National direct barrows and gilts closed $2.95 higher with a base price range of $90 to $110 and a weighted average of $100.36, with Iowa/Southern Minnesota up $3.65 at $109.02 and the Western Corn Belt $4.35 higher at $108.92.
Butcher hogs at the Midwest cash markets were $4 higher than the last reported test at $70. Illinois direct sows were $1 higher at $65 to $76 on moderate demand for light offerings. Barrows and gilts were up $1 at $59 to $65 on moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $17 to $40.
Pork closed $2.66 higher at $106.65. The estimated hog slaughter of 479,000 head was up 28,000 on the week, but down 12,000 on the year.