Cattle futures supported by strong cash trade
At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle ended the day higher, supported by this week’s stronger cash business. June live cattle closed $0.57 higher at $136.87 August live cattle closed $1 higher at $138.65 and May feeder cattle closed a dollar two higher at $161.95 August feeder cattle closed $.67 higher at $174.42.
There was a light to moderate direct cash cattle trade that took place on Wednesday. Deals in the South were at $139 live, fully steady with Tuesday’s business and last week’s weighted averages. Live deals in Iowa were marked at $143, well above last week’s business. Dressed deals were at $225 to $227, $2 to $4 higher than last week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska. There was a light live trade that took place in the South on Tuesday at $139, $1 higher than the bulk of last week’s business. Colorado reported sales at $140 to $142, $2 to $4 higher than last week’s business. There was a handful of dressed deals reported at $223 to $224, while not enough to establish a trend, steady to slightly higher than the previous week’s business. There was a late reported sale on Tuesday at the CBP, those were marked at $142. Today’s Fed Cattle Exchange had an offering of 3,596 head of which just 150 head sold from $137.50 to $139.
At the Hub City Livestock Auction in South Dakota, there was a very light offering, so an accurate comparison was not available. However, there was a higher undertone noted on steers. The USDA says demand was good to very good for the light offering. Fleshed varied from light to moderate plus. Light cattle that were green enough for grass were met with very good demand. Weather caused quite a few cancellations as parts of North Dakota and Montana have been hit by blizzard conditions. The market was active even with the limited buyers and sellers on hand due to the weather. Receipts were down on the week and the year. Feeder supply included 55% steers and 94% of the offering was over 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 815 to 831 pounds brought $160 to $164 and feeder steers 869 to 895 pounds brought $142 to $155.85. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 605 to 612 pounds brought $167 to $167.50 and feeder heifers 845 to 849 pounds brought $143.
Boxed beef closed lower on light demand for moderate offerings. Choice closed $1.11 lower at $272.36 and Select closed $1.34 lower at $259.37. The Choice/Select spread is $12.99. Estimated cattle slaughter is 126,000 – up 1,000 on the week and up 10,000 on the year.
Lean hog futures closed mostly lower, pressured by long-term demand concerns. May lean hogs closed $0.72 lower at $111.52 and June lean hogs closed $.87 lower at $117.60.
Cash hogs closed lower with a fairly light negotiated run. Demand for US pork on the global market has been strong and that’s helping to provide some prices support. However, there are long-term concerns which add volatility to the market. Processors have been moving relatively large numbers without having to get too aggressive in their procurement efforts. And the industry continues to monitor the availability of market-ready hogs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct closed $1.88 lower with a base range of $95 to $103 and a weighted average of $97.79; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $1.85 lower with a weighted average of $100.57; the Western Corn Belt closed $1.85 lower with a weighted average of $100.88. Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality.
Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $80.
Pork values closed higher – up $1.73 at $108.53. Bellies and ribs were both sharply higher. Loins and hams were higher. Picnics and butts were lower. Estimated hog slaughter is 478,000 head – up 27,000 on the week and even on the year. Tuesday’s hog slaughter has been revised to 467,000 head.